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Volume II 





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Itinerary and Chronology . 
To Thomas Nelson, May i6th 

New governments — Lodgings 

Independence — Canadian 

Report on Canadian Affairs, May 21st 
Proposed Constitution for Virginia, June . 
Report on Cedars Cartel, June 17th . 
Report on Canadian Affairs, June 17th 
To William Fleming, July ist . 

Canadian affairs — New York conspiracy — Virginia delegation 
— Declaration of Independence. 

Declaration of Independence, July 4th 
To Richard Henry Lee, July 8th 

Declaration of Independence — Return to Virginia. 

To George Wythe, July ? . 


Rules for Continental Congress, July 
To Edmund Pendleton, July 

Resignation from Congress. 

Motion for Rotation of Members of Congress, July 
To Francis Eppes, July 15th .... 

Condition at New York — Cedars cartel. 

To the Pennsylvania Convention, July 15th 

Pennsylvania-Virginia boundaries. 
Notes on Virginia-Pennsylvania Boundary, July 













To the Governor of Virginia, July i6th 

Lead — Lead mines — Vacancies in Virginia battalions — Salt. 

To Fielding Lewis, July i6th ..... 

To John Page, July 20th ...... 

Virginian seal — Motto — Foreigners — 8tli battalion — Camp 
news — Return to Virginia. 

To Francis Eppes, July 23d ..... 

Southern war news — Canada — Situation about New York. 

To John Page, August 5th ..... 

Indian war — Virginian delegation — Howe's army — Duche's 

To Francis Eppes, August 9th ..... 

New York news — French politics — Affairs at Charleston and 

To , August 13th ...... 

Public lands, Congressional sale of — Movements at New 
York — Indian affairs. 

To John Page, August 20th ..... 

New York news — Foreign rumors — Canadian affairs — Fleet 
on Champlain — Indians — Military supplies. 

Resolutions Relating to Hessian Officers, August 27th, 
Resolutions on Peace Propositions, August 28th 
To the President of the Continental Congress, Octo 
ber nth 

Declining foreign mission. 

Notes on Religion, October 

Bill to Abolish Entails, October 14th 

Amendments to Bill to Abolish Entails, October i8th 

Bill to Remove Government, October 14th 

Bill for Raising Infantry, October 28th 

Bill Establishing County Courts, November 4th 

Bill for Altering Rates of Copper Coin, November 


Report on Upshur, November 28th . 













Bill for the Trial of Offences, December 5th 
Bill for Suspending Executions for Debt, December 



1 22 


Bill for Providing against Invasions, May loth 
Bill Regulating Appointment of Delegates to Con- 
gress, May 1 2th ....... 

To John Adams, May i6th ..... 

Virginia's troops — Confederation — Journals of Congress — 
Post office. 

To Benjamin Franklin, August 13th . . . . 

Virginia's easy change to republican institutions — Courts of 
justice — Paper money — Delights of foreign life. 

To John Adams, August 21st . 

Borrowing in Europe — Tuscany and Mazzei — Howe's move- 

First Report of Conference Committee, December 

Right of senate to amend money bills. 

Second Report of Conference Committee, January 


Bill Giving Powers to Executive, January 13th 

Bill Designating Places for Holding Courts, January 


Bill Granting Pardon, May 14th 

Bill for Recovery of U. S. Debts, May 19th 

Bill Providing Public Supplies, May 20th 

Bill to Amend Same, May 21st 

Bill of Attainder against Philips, May 28th 

To Richard Henry Lee, June 5th 

Doings of Assembly — Confederation — Supplies 









To , June 8th 156 

European accounts of war — Actual facts — French alliance — 
Fondness for philosophical studies — Climatic observations — 

Resolutions Concerning Peace, June ? . . . 160 
To Rev. Samuel Henley, June 9th .... 160 


To David Rittenhouse, July 19th . ". . . 162 

Eclipse — Neglect of science for politics. 

Bill for Paying Members of the Assembly, December 

I2th 165 

To George Wythe, March ist . . . . . 166 

Practice of attorneys in Virginia courts. 

To the Governor of Virginia, March 27th . . .167 

Removal of Convention troops. 

To Richard Henry Lee, April 21st . . . . 180 

Parole for Hessian officer. 

To Gabriel Jones, April 29th 181 

Inclosing money. 

Bill Concerning British Subjects, May 27th . . 182 
Speech to General Assembly, June 2 . . .186 

To John Page, June ....... 187 

Regret at being made his competitor for office. 

To William Fleming, June 8th 188 

Cruelty of enemies — Rumors of peace — Public land office — 
Removal of capital — Western news. 

To Theodorick Bland, Jr., June 8th .... 190 

Governor Hamilton — Military directions. 

To Richard Henry Lee, June 17th .... 192 
Clark's expedition — Correspondence. 

To Theodorick Bland, Jr., June 18th . . . 194 

Colo. Finnie — Governor Hamilton. 



Report of the Revisors, June 1 8th .... 195 

Bill for withholding British property — Bill concerning slaves 
— Bill for proportioning crimes and punishments — Bill for the 
more general diffusion of knowledge — Bill for the amending the 
constitution of the College of William and Mary — Bill for 
establishing a public library — Bill for establishing religious 

To General Washington, June 19th .... 240 

Clark's expedition — Shelby's success — Governor Hamilton 
— Southern service. 

To the President of Congress, June 19th . . . 241 

Letters of marque — Cruelties of enemies on privateers in 
Chesapeake Bay — Prizes. 

Proclamation concerning Escheats, July ist . . 243 
To General Baron de Riedesel, July 4th . . . 245 

Permits to Hessian officers — Thanks for congratulations — 
Future meeting. 

To General Washington, July 17th .... 246 

Governor Hamilton — Desertions from convention troops. 

To the Governor of Canada, July 22d . . . 248 

Governor Hamilton. 

To Col. William Fleming, August 7th , . . 256 

Recruiting western battalions. 

To the County Lieutenant of Hampshire, August 

17th 257 

Battalions for western campaign. 

To the President of Congress, September 25th . . 257 

Wheat crop. 

To General Washington, October 1st . . . 258 

Governor Hamilton. 

To General Washington, October 2d ... 259 

Governor Hamilton — Retaliation. 

To General Washington, October 8th . . . 260 

Governor Hamilton. 

To Col. George Mathews, October 8th . . . 261 

Governor Hamilton — Situation of Virginian officers at New 


To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, October 

22d 264 

Additional supplies — Sequestered estates — Continental ac- 
counts — General Steuben's "Continental Rules." 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, October 

29th 266 

Le Mair — Brevets. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, October 

30th 267 

Manufacture of arms — Ballendine — Iron furnace — Foundry 
— James River canal. 

To the French Minister, November loth . . , 273 

Authorizing French fleet to enter Virginian waters — Best 

To the Governor of North Carolina, November nth, 274 

Cherokee Indians — Division of Indian tribes among southern 

To the President of Congress, November i6th . . 276 

Guarding convention troops. ] 

To General Washington, November 20th . . . 278 

Virginia's quota of continental troops — Governor Hamilton. 

Proclamation Laying Embargo on Provisions, No- 
vember 30th . . . . . . , .281 

To the President of Congress, December i6th . . 282 

Continental arms — State arms. 

To General Washington, December i6th . . . 286 

Prisoners — Land law — Colonel Bland's case. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, December 

23d 288 

Invasion of enemy. 

To the President of Congress, December 30th . . 289 

Prize — Convention troops — Continental quota of provisions. 

To the President of Congress, February 9th . . 292 

Western land grants — Friction with Pennsylvania. 



To General Washington, February loth . . . 298 

Clark's expedition against Detroit. 

To , February i8th 300 

Battery at Hoods. 

To General Washington, April loth .... 301 


To General Baron de Riedesel, May 13th . . . 302 

Condolences — Exchange of prisoners. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, June 8th, 303 

Public tobacco. 

To the President of Congress, June 9th . . . 304 

Continental requisition — Provisions — Southern news — 
Cavalry — Removal of state capital. 

To General Washington, June nth .... 308 

Line of expresses — Condition of south — Southern re-inforce- 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, June 13th, 310 

Supplies for troops. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, June 14th, 311 

Western troops — Western accounts. 

To the President of Congress, June 15th . . . 312 

Line of expresses. 

To the President of Congress, June 28th . . . 313 

Southern movements — Continental requisitions. 

To General Washington, July 2d . . . ,315 

Rearrangement of troops — Difficulties of situation. 

To the President of Congress, July 2d . . •315 

Chesapeake Bay — Supplies. 

To the Committee of Congress at Headquarters, 

July 2d 317 

Impress law — Grain — Transportation — Draft law. 
To General Edward Stevens, July 19th . . .319 

Martial law for militia. 

To James Madison, July 26th 319 

Paper money — New drafts — Southern condition — Requisi- 
tioas — College. 



To the President of Congress, July 27th . 

Continental resolves — Clothing — Army — Money — Provisions 
— Tobacco tax. 

To General Horatio Gates, August 4th 

Cartouch boxes — Army supplies. 

To General Washington, September 3d . . . 

Defeat at Camden — New army — Relief of New York pris- 

To General Edward Stevens, September 3d 

Camden defeat — Reinforcements. 

To the President of Congress, September 3d 

Southern army — Scarcity of arms. 

To the President of Congress, September 6th 

Army supplies. 

To the President of Congress, September 8th 

Horses for cavalry. 

To General Edward Stevens, September 12th 

Desertions from militia — Army supplies. 

To the President of Congress, September 14th 

Movements of enemy — Scarcity of arms — Disaffection in 
Virginia — Conventioners. 

To General Edward Stevens, September 15th . 

Jefferson's wagons. 

To General Washington, September 23d . 

Col. Wood — New recruits — Army supplies — French aid. 

To General Washington, September 26th . 

Intercepted letter — Gov. Hamilton — Exchange of prisoners 
— Expedition against Detroit — Cession of western lands. 

To the President of Congress, October 14th 

Virginia militia for southern service. 

To General Horatio Gates, October 15th . 

Letters — Militia— Cavalry — Maps of Virginia. 

To the President of Congress, October 22d 

British fleet in Chesapeake — Action to oppose them. 

To General Horatio Gates, October 22d . 

British fleet. 









To the President of Congress, October 25th 

Movements of British — Condition of Virginia. 

To General Washington, October 25th 

Southern news. 

To the President of Congress, October 26th 

Removal of Convention troops. 

To the Virginia Delegates, October 27th . 

Army supplies — Insurrection at Pittsylvania. 

To General Horatio Gates, October 28th . 

Movements of British. 

To the President of Congress, November 3d 

News of British — Removal of Conventioners. 

To General Horatio Gates, November loth 

Volunteers — Convention troops — Intercepted letter. 

To the President of Congress, November loth . 

Intercepted letter of Leslie — Deserters. 

To the Delegates of Virginia, November 17th . 
Payments of quota into Continental treasury. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, November 

Letter from Bland — Congress delegates. 

To the President of Congress, November 19th . 

Movements of British — Southern news. 

To General Horatio Gates, November 19th 

Southern news. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, November 

French consul — Foreign commerce — Privateer. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, November 

Movements of British — Future measures. 

To General Washington, November 26th . 

Removal of Convention troops — Movements of British. 

To General Edward Stevens, November 26th . 

Sailing of British fleets — Tents — Organization of Virginian 









To Lieut. John Louis de Unger, November 30th . 373 

Parting wishes — War ami pliilosophy. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, December 

nth 374 

Recruits — Future plans of British. 

To General Washington, December 15th . . . 375 

Expedition against Detroit. 

To Major Wall, December 2 1 St 379 

Wickham case. 

To , December 2 1st 380 

Impress of supplies — Continental requisitions. 

To the County Lieutenants of Hampshire and Berke- 
ley, December 24th 381 

Expedition against Detroit. 

To Rowland Madison, December 24th . . . 382 

Expedition against Detroit. 

To George Rogers Clark, December 25th . . .383 

Expedition against Detroit. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, December 

29th 391 

Convention troops. 

To General Baron von Steuben, December 31st . 391 

Arrival of strange fleet. 

Extracts from Diary 392 


To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, January 

ist 395 

Announcing arrival of fleet in Chesapeaice Bay. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, January 

1st 395 

Conhrmation of news concerning fleet. 

To General Thomas Nelson, January 2d . . . 396 

Proceedings taken to oppose British — Expresses — Commissary 
— Public arms. 



To General Baron Steuben, January 2d . . . 397 

Views of British invasion. 

Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, January 2d, 397 

Call for militia. 

Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, January 2d, 398 

Call for militia. 
Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, January 

4th 399 

Advance of British. 

To Colonel Francis Taylor, January 4th . . . 399 

Intentions of British — Removal of conventioners. 

To Colonel Richard Meade, January 4th . . . 400 

Subsistence for militia — Requesting his assistance for Steuben. 

To General Baron Steuben, January 4th . . . 401 

Offer to Walker — Militia. 

To General Baron Steuben, January 7th . . . 402 

Arms for militia. 

To General Baron Steuben, January 7th . . . 403 

Endeavors to see -Steuben — Arms — Wagons. 
To General Baron Steuben, January 9th . . . 404 

State defence during an invasion a continental charge. 

To the President of Congress, January loth . . 405 

Narrative of invasion — Damage done — Steuben's aid — De- 
fenceless condition. 

To Colonel John Nicholas, January loth . . . 409 

Restoration of property taken by British. 
To General Thomas Nelson, January 12th . . 410 

Return of horses left by British. 

To General Baron Steuben, January 13th . . 410 

Invasions a continental charge — Continental commissary — 
Clark's movements — Draft law — Militia. 
To the President of Congress, January 15th . 413 

Protest against requisitions for supplies for conventioners. 

To the Governor of Maryland, January 15th . . 415 

Requisition for conventioners — Wood-cutting. 

To General Thomas Nelson, January 15th . . 416 

Want of news of enemy — Kxpresses. 



To Jacob Wray, January 15th ..... 417 

To General Thomas Nelson, January 15th . . 418 

Dismissal of militia. 

To the Virginia Delegates in Congress, January 15th, 419 
Case of Trot. 

To General Nathanael Greene, January i6th . . 420 

Success of enemy in Virginia — Success to southern army. 

To the Governor of North Carolina, January i6th . 422 

Recent British invasion — Anxiety to assist southern states. 

To the President of Congress, January 17th . . 423 

Confederation — Virginia land cession. 

To the Virginia Delegates in Congress, January i8th, 424 

Navigation of Mississippi — Powder — Recent skirmishes — 
Southern news. 

Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, January 

19th 426 

Draft law — Paroles — Militia. 

Proclamation Concerning Paroles, January 19th . 429 
Circular-Letter to the County Magistrates, January 

20th 431 

Draft law. 

To General Thomas Nelson, January 20th . . 432 

Provisions — Exchanges of prisoners — Paroles. 

Proclamation Convening Assembly, January 23d . 432 

Circular-Letter to Members of the General Assembly, 

January 23d 433 

Desperate condition of state. 

To General Thomas Nelson, January 25th . . 434 

Supplies — Convening assembly — Printing laws — Militia — 
Paroled men — Spirits. 

To the Virginia Delegates in Congress, January 26th, 437 

Arendt's case — Supplies — Harrison's mission. 

To Benjamin Harrison, January 29th . . . 438 

Bermuda trade — Convention troops — Army supplies. 



To , January 31st ...... 441 

Possible abduction of Arnold. 

To the Governor of Maryland, February ist . . 443 

Shoemaker — Invitation to French allies to visit Chesapeake 
Bay — Naval force. 

Proclamation Concerning Foreigners, February 5th . 455 
To Benjamin Harrison, February 7th . , . 446 

Supplying prisoners in New York. 

To the President of Congress, February 8th . . 447 

Southern news — Want of arms. 

To Colonel Theodoric Bland, February 9th . . 448 

Exchange of Governor Hamilton. 

To General Nathanael Greene, February loth . . 449 

Burdens resting on southern states — Morgan's success — Army 

To General George Rogers Clark, February 13th . 450 

Expedition against Detroit. 
Circular-Letter to County Lieutenants, February 

15th 451 

Advance of Cornwailis — Calling out militia — Draft law sus- 

To General Thomas Nelson, February i6th . . 452 

Preparation for allies. 

Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, February 

i6th 453 

Western expedition — Necessity of united action. 

To General Nathanael Greene, February 17th . . 454 

Reinforcements — Advance of French fleet. 

To General Washington, February 17th . . .455 

Advance of Cornwailis — Arnold's movements — Proposition to 

To General Horatio Gates, February 17th . 457 

Southern news — " Knocking at the doors of Congress.'' 

To General Baron Steuben, February 19th . . 459 

Convention troops — French fleet. 


To General George Rogers Clark, February 19th 

Backwardness of militia — Volunteers. 

To General Baron Steuben, February 20th 

Clothing — Militia — Draft — Visit of Hare. 

To General Thomas Nelson, February 21st 

Tilley's squadron — Hare's visit — Militia. 

To Colonel James Innes, February 22d 

Relief of militia — Commissions. 

To General Baron Steuben, February 24th 

Sufferings and discontent of militia. 

To General Robert Lawson, February 25th 

Continental arms — No news from south — Militia ordered out 

To the Officer of French Fleet, February 25th . 

Pilots — Arms and clothing. 

To the President of Congress, February 26th 

Retreat of Green — Cornwallis at Hillsborough — Inactivity at 



To Mrs. William Byrd, March ist . 

Definition of enemy. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, March ist 

Former supplies — Recent invasions — Delay in execution of 
laws — Necessities for regular troops — New England convention 
— Legionary corps — Approach of Cornwallis — Resolutions of 
Congress — History of invasions. 

To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 2d 

Pilots for French vessels — Possibility of capturing British. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, March 3d, 

Need of additional vessels. 

To Colonel Edward Carrington, March 3d 

Erroneous estimates. 

To the Speakers of the General Assembly of North 
Carolina, March 3d . 

Succours to North Carolina — Lack of arms. 

To the Governor of Maryland, March 6th . 

Supplies for southern army — Concerted action needed. 












To General Baron Steuben, March 7th . . . 483 

Cannon — Works at York. 

To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 8th . . 484 

General condition — Drawings of Arnold's position — Plans of 

To the President of Congress, March 8th . . . 486 

Skirmishes — Southern operations — Preparations. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, March 9th, 488 

Refusal of militia to embody. 

To General Baron Steuben, March loth . . . 488 

Hare's flag. 

To Major-General Baron Steuben, March loth . . 491 

Failure of militia to obey orders — Horses — Refusal to support 
impress by force. 

To General Marquis de Lafayette, March loth . . 493 

Condition of Virginia. 

To the Speaker of the General Assembly, March 

loth 494 

Militia — Horses. 

To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 12th . . 495 

Mistaken rumors 'prevent militia from embodying — Move- 
ments of Arnold. 

To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 12th . . 497 

Various preparations and orders. 

To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 14th . . 498 

News of his arrival — Supplies. 

To the Virginia Delegates in Congress, March 15th . 500 

Difference over exchange. 

To the Speaker of the House of Delegates, March 

i6th 501 


To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 19th . 501 

Expresses — Horses — Impressing — Turberville's conduct — 
Hare's flag — Military laws — Virginia state press. 


To His Excellency the President of Congress, March 

2ist 505 

Negligence of expresses — Battle of Cowpens — Look-out- 

To General Weedon, March 2 1st .... 507 

News of new fleet in Chesapeake Bay. 

To General Marquis de Lafayette, March 24th . . 507 

Ammunition — Failure of lead mines — Supplies — Conflict of 
fleets — Resignation of Muter. 

To the Commanding Officer of the British, March 

24th 511 

Paroled citizens — Retaliation. 

Circular-Letter to the County Lieutenants, March 

26th 512 

Acts of Assembly — Impress of Horses — Aid to Virginian 
prisoners — Desertion from British army. 

To the Rev. James Madison and Robert Andrews, 

March 31st 513 

Western boundaries — Transportation of instruments — Allow- 

To the President of Congress, March 31st . . 515 

Flag vessels — Southern news — Reinforcement of British forces 
at Portsmouth. 

To General Phillips, March 31st . . . .516 

Removal of Convention troops — Flag vessels. 





1776. — Jan. 2 




Mar. 31 

May 7 



June ? 


At Bushtown. 

At Baltimore. 

At Upper Marlboro. 

At Piscataway. 

At Fredericksburg. 

At Monticello. 

Mother dies. 
Leaves Monticello. 
At Orange Court-House and Culpeper Court- 

At Fairfax Court-House and Red House. 
At Lacys, Leesburgh and Knowlands on Potomac. 
At Fredericktown and Tawneytown. 
At Rhengher and Wright's ferriage (Susquehannah). 
At Lancaster. 
At Chester and Philadelphia. 

Lodges at " Randolphs." 

Attends Congress. 

On Committee on Letters. 

Drafts report of Committee. 

On Committee to address foreign mercenaries. 

Takes lodgings at Mrs. Graafs. 

On Committee to prepare address. 

Drafts Constitution for Virginia. 

On Committee for preventing news and supplies 
for enemy. 

On Committee to prepare rules for Congress. 

On Committee to prepare Declaration of Inde- 


1776. — June 15. On Committee to investigate Cedars' cartel. 

17. Drafts report of Committee. 

20, Re-elected member of Congress. 

Drafts report on Canada. 
28. Reports draft of Declaration. 

July 4. Declaration adopted. 

On Committee to plan seal of U. S. 
6. On Committee on Indian affairs. 

10. Committee to prepare rules of Congress report. 

11. On Committee on Philadelphia prisoners. 
15. On Committee on Flying Camp. 

17. On Committee to revise journals. 

18. On Committee on Letters. 

24. On Committee on Gold and Silver coins. 

25. On Committee on Memorial of Parsons. 
? Moves for rotation of Congress. 

? Requests Virginia Convention to allow his return. 

Aug. 9. On Committee to encourage Hessians to desert. 

14. Committee reports. 

20. On Committee on Washington's letter. 
On Committee on captures. 

21. On Committee to revise resolutions. 

26. On Committee on Wilson's letter. 
Drafts report. 

28. Moves resolution in regard to Drummond. 

Sept. 2. Leaves Philadelphia. 

4. At Whitehouse and Lancaster. 

5. At Wright's ferry and York. 

6. At Tawneytown and Frederic. 

7. At Leesburgh. 

8. At Redhouse. 

9. At Monticello. 

26. Elected Commissioner to France. 

27. Leaves Monticello. 
Oct. 1. At Williamsburg. 

6. At " Coles." 

8. At "Bassetts." 

II. At Williamsburg. 

Attends Assembly. 

On Committee on Propositions and Grievances. 

On Committee on Privileges and Elections. 

On Committee on Religion. 

On Committee to draft militia bill. 

On Committee to draft tobacco bill. 


1776. — Oct. 12. Receives thanks of Assembly. 

On Committee to draft bill ending entails. 
On Committee to draft repeal of frontier ordi- 
14- On Committee to draft bill to remove seat of 

On Committee to draft naturalization bill. 
Entail bill introduced. 

15. On Committee to draft infantry bill. 

16. On Committee to draft bill dividing Fincastle Co. 
On Committee to draft punishment bill. 
Reports on Ross. 

18. Leave of absence granted by Assembly. 
Entail bill amended. 

19. Reports on Corbin. 

25. Reports on Garland and Barber. 

On Committee to draft courts bill. 
2S. On Committee to draft bill defining treason. 

On Committee to draft bill dividing Augusta Co. 
Introduces Infantry bill. 
Nov. 2. Reports on Goodrich. 

4- On Committee to draft bill dissolving local 


5. Bill to establish County Courts introduced. 

On Committee to report on Va.-Pa. boundaries. 
Bill for trial of certain offences introduced. 

6. Chosen one of five to revise laws. 

7. On Committee to draft copper-coinage bill. 

11. Introduces bill to remove capital. 

12. On Committee to confer with Senate. 
13- On Committee to draft restraining bill. 

19. On Committee to draft bill suspending tithes. 

28. Reports on Upshur. 

Dec. 4. On Committee to draft bill to punish certain 

6. On Committee to draft bill for loan office. 

Bill for suspending debt executions introduced. 


Leaves Williamsburg. 


At Monticello. 

1777- — Jan. i-io. 

At Monticello. 


At Fredericksburg. 

Attends meeting of " I 


At Orange Court-Uouse. 

Mar. 10. 

At Monticello. 



1777. — Apr. 1-19. At Monticello. 

May 4. Leaves Monticello. 

5. Arrives at Williamsburg. 

Attends Assembly. 

9, On Committee on Religion. 

On Committee on Privileges and Election.s. 

On Committee on Courts of Justice. 
10. Reports bill regulating militia. 

12. Reports bill for electing Congress delegates. 

20. Granted leave of absence for session. 

22. At Richmond. 
28. At Monticello. 

Son born. 

June 14. Son dies. 

18. At Bedford. 

23. At Cumberland Court-House. 
July 6. At Monticello. 

24. At Monticello. 
Aug. 21. At Monticello. 
Oct. 20, At " Charlton's." 

24. At " Cowles." 

30. At Williamsburg. 

Attends Assembly. 

On Committee on Religion. 

On Committee on Privileges and Elections. 

On Committee of Propositions and Grievances. 

On Committee of Courts of Justice. 

On Committee to draft Court of Appeals bill. 

On Committee to draft General Court bill. 

On Committee to draft Chancery Court bill. 
Nov. 5. Leave of Absence granted. 

On Committee Petition of Vanbibber. 

On Committee on Forestalling. 
28. On Committee to amend Militia bill. 

Dec. I. On Committee to confer with Senate. 

4. Prepares reply to Senate. 
On Committee on Army bill. 

5. On Committee on Losses of Norfolk. 

6. At Charles City. 
g. At Williamsburg. 

Attends Assembly. 
Reports answer to Senate. 

10. At Cowles Ferry. 
12. At Williamsburg. 

Attends Assembly. 


\111. — Dec. 13. On Committee to draft Tax bill. 

16. On Committee to draft Salary bill. 

On Committee to draft bill legalizing certain acts. 

17. On Committee to draft bill dividing Counties. 

19. On Committee to draft bill granting Letters of 

24. On Committee to draft County Court bill. 

27. On Committee to draft bill granting powers to 

On Committee to amend Small-Pox bill. 
1778. — Jan. 2. On Committee to prepare Answer to Senate. 

3. Granted leave of absence. 

9. Reports Answer to Senate. 

12. On Committee to confer with Senate. 

13. On Committee to draft Sequestration bill. 
On Committee to report on Loyeaute. 

20. On Committee to draft Chancery Court bill. 
24. Assembly adjourns. 

Feb. 26-28. At Monticello. 

Mar. 2-14. At Monticello. 

Apr. 8. At Williamsburg. 

May 12. At Williamsburg. 

Attends Assembly. 

13. On Committee of Privileges and Elections. 
On Committee of Propositions and Grievances. 
Reports bill granting Pardon. 

14. On Committee on Norfolk Losses. 

15. On Committee to draft Cavalry bill. 
On Committee to draft Volunteer bill. 

16. On Committee on Recruiting bill. 

18. On Committee to draft bill for Recovery of 

On Committee to draft bill for Foreign Corre- 

19. On Committee to draft bill giving appointing 

power to Chancery Court. 

20. On Committee to draft bill relating to Town of 

26. On Committee to draft bill enforcing attendance 

of Assemblymen. 

28. On Committee to consider Oyer and Terminer 

Court bill. 
On Committee to draft Salt bill. 
Reports bill to attaint Philips. 
June I. Assembly adjourns. 


— June lo. 

July 19. 

Aug. I. 

Sept. 12. 

Oct. 7. 

Oct. 12-N0V. 4, 

Nov. 22. 



Dec. I. 



Leaves Williamsburg. 
At Monticello. 

Third daughter born (Mary Jefferson). 
At Monticello. 

Ordered into Custody of Sergeant at Arms of 
At Monticello. 
At Tuckahoe. 
At Cowles. 
At Williamsburg. 

Attends Assembly in custody of Sergeant at Arms. 

On Committee to draft bill establishing Auditors. 

On Committee of Privileges and Elections. 

On Committee of Propositions and Grievances. 

On Committee to draft Court of Appeals bill. 

On Committee to draft Pay-bill of Assembly. 

Ordered into Custody of Sergeant at Arms of 

Attends Assembly in custody of Sergeant at Arms. ' 

On Committee to draft bill agreeable to resolution 
of Assembly. 

Reports bill to prevent Forestalling. 

Assembly adjourns. 
At Williamsburg. 
At Williamsburg. 

Attends Meeting of " Revisors." 
At " The Forrest." 
At Monticello. 
At Monticello. 
At W'illiamsburg. 

Attends Assembly. 

On Committee of Privileges and Elections. 

On Committee of Propositions and Grievances. 
II. On Committee to draft Board of War bill. 

On Committee to draft Board of Trade bill. 

On Committee to draft Money bill 

On Committee to draft Land Office bill. 

13. On Committee to draft Militia bill. 

14. On Committee to draft Militia Supply bill. 

15. On Committee to draft Congressional Delegate 

19. On Committee to draft Foreign Exchange bill. 

25. On Committee to draft Spottsylvania County bill. 

On Committee to amend Congressional Delegate 

On Committee to draft Counterfeit bill. 






—Jan. 22. 

Feb. 2. 

Mar. I. 


Apr. 21-29, 

May 8. 


1779. — May 27. Reports Escheat bill. 

Ordered to draft bill for paying Members of 

On Committee to draft bill for removing Capital. 
29. Ordered to draft bill prescribing Oaths. 

Ordered to draft bill suspending Oaths in certain 
31. On Committee to report on Maryland's action on 

Elected Governor of Virginia. 
Bill for Religious freedom introduced in Assembly. 
" Revisors " report Code to Assembly. 
Issues proclamation concerning Escheats. 
At " The Forrest." 
At Williamsburg. 
At Monticello. 
At Williamsburg. 

Issues Proclamation laying Embargo. 
At Richmond.' 

Re-elected Governor of Virginia. 
Fourth daughter born. 
Receives news of Leslie's Invasion. 
Orders out Militia. 
Goes to Westham. 
Spends night at Tuckahoe. 

5. Goes to Westham, Manchester, Chetswood, and 

"Colonel Henry's." 

6. At Westham and " Fine Creek." 

7. At Manchester. 

8. At Richmond. 

19. Issues Proclamation concerning Paroles. 

23. Issues Proclamation convening Assembly. 

Feb. 5. Issues Proclamation concerning Foreigners. 

' On April ist the State capital v\fas removed to Richmond. Before that 
time Jefferson had been almost continuously in Williamsburg, during his 
administration, and from this date on he was in Richmond most of the time 
till May, 1781. 

June I. 



July I. 



Aug. 4. 

Sept. 25. 

Nov. 30. 


—Mar. 28. 

J une I . 

Nov. 3. 

Dec. 31. 


— Jan. 2. 








Philadelphia, May 16, 1776. 

Dear Nelson, — I arrived here last Tuesday after 
being detained hence six weeks longer than I intended 
by a malady of which Gilmer can inform you. I 
have nothing new to inform you of as the last 
post carried you an account of the naval engage- 
ment in Delaware. I inclose a vote of yester- 
day on the subject of government as the ensuing 
campaign is likely to require greater exertion than our 
unorganized powers may at present effect. Should 
our Convention propose to establish now a form of 
government perhaps it might be agreeable to recall 
for a short time their delegates. It is a work of the 

' From the original in the American Antiquarian Society, of Worcester, Mass. 

VOL. II.— I 



most interesting nature and such as every individual 
would wish to have his voice in. In truth it is the 
whole object of the present controversy ; for should 
a bad government be instituted for us in future it 
had been as well to have accepted at first the bad 
one offered to us from beyond the water without the 
risk & expence of contest. But this I mention to 
you in confidence, as in our situation, a hint to any 
other is too delicate however anxiously interesting 
the subject is to our feelings. In future you shall hear 
from me weekly while you stay, and I shall be glad 
to receive Conventional as well as publick intelligence 
from you. 

P. S. — In the other colonies who have instituted 
government they recalled their delegates, leaving 
only one or two to give information to Congress of 
matters which might relate to their country particu- 
larly, and giving them a vote during the interval of 

I am at present in our old lodgings tho' I think, 
as the excessive heats of the city are coming on fast, 
to endeavor to get lodgings in the skirts of the town 
where I may have the benefit of a freely circulating 
air. Tell Page & McClurgh that I received their 
letters this morning and shall devote myself to their 
contents. I am here in the same uneasy anxious 
state in which I was the last fall without Mrs. Jeffer- 
son who could not come with me. I wish much to 
see you here, yet hope you will contrive to bring on 
as early as you can in convention the great questions 
of the session. I suppose they will tell us what to 


say on the subject of independence,^ but hope respect 
will be expressed to the right of opinion in other 
colonies who may happen to differ from them. When 
at home I took great pains to enquire into the senti- 
ments of the people on that head, in the upper coun- 
ties I think I may safely say nine out of ten are for 
it. Adieu. My compliments to Mrs. Nelson. 

May 19. Yesterday we received the disagreeable 
news of a second defeat at Quebec. Two men of 
war, two frigates and a tender arrived there early on 
the 6th instant. About 1 1 o'clock the same day the 
enemy sallied out to the number of a thousand. 
Our forces were so dispersed at different posts that 
not more than 200 could be collected at Headquar- 
ter's. This small force could not resist the enemy. 
All our cannon, 500 muskets & 200 sick men fell 
into their hands. Besides this one of their frigates 
got possession of a batteau with 30 barrels of powder 
& an armed vessel which our crew was forced to 
abandon. Our army was to retreat to the mouth of 
the Sorel. 

Genl. Arnold was to set off from Montreal to join 
them immediately, upon whose rejoining them, it was 
hoped they might return as far as Dechambeau. 
General Wooster has the credit of this misadventure, 
and if he cannot give a better account of it than has 
yet been heard, I hope he will be made an example 
of. Generals Thomas and Sullivan were on their 

' The Virginia Convention passed the instruction for independence the day 
before this was written. 


way with reinforcements. Arnold had gone up to 
Montreal on business, or as some say, disgusted by 

The congress having ordered a new battalion of 
riflemen to be raised in Virginia, Innis wishes much 
to be translated to it from the Eastern shore which 
was so disao^reeable to him that he had determined 
to have resigned. 


[May 21, 1776.] 
R I post- Resolved that the Commissioners for Indian affairs 
pon'd in the Northern department be directed to use their 

utmost endeavors to procure the assistance of the Indians within 
their department to act against the enemies of the Colonies, that 
they particularly endeavor to engage them to undertake the 
reduction of Niagara, engaging on behalf of Congress to pay them 
133^ dollars for every prisoner they shall take and bring to 
headquarters, or to the said Commissioners. 

R 2 post- Resolved that the Commissioners for Indian affairs 
pon'd in the Middle department be directed to use their 

utmost endeavors to procure the assistance of the Indians within 
their department, that they particularly endeavor to engage them 

' On May 14, 1776, " a letter of the nth from general Washington in- 
closing sundry papers ; a letter of the 3d from general Schuyler ; and a letter 
of the gth from Daniel Robertson, %sere laid before Congress and read : 
Resolved, That they be referred to a committee of three. The members 
chosen, Mr.W. Livingston, Mr. Jefferson, and Mr. J. Adams." On May i6th 
letters from the Commissioners of Congress in Canada, and from W^ashington, 
were referred to the same Committee. They presented the above report May 
2ist, which was read the same day, and consideration postponed. It was again 
considered on the 22d, and sundry resolutions adopted. Cf. y oumal of Con- 
gress. This report is printed from the original in Jefferson's handwriting, 
which is headed " Report on Indians." 


to undertake the reduction of Detroit upon the same terms offered 
the Indians who shall go against Niagara. 

Resolved that the Commissioners in each of the r, 3, post- 
said departments be directed to employ one or more pon'd 
able partisans whom the Congress will liberally reward for their 
exertions in the business to be committed to them. 

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee r. 4. referred 
that there be raised for the Service of the United to N. J. & P. 
Colonies one battalion of Germans.' 

Resolved that the companies of riflemen from Vir- „ 

ginia and Maryland be regimented and that the regi- 
ment be compleated to the original number of the Pennsylvania 

Resolved that the Pennsylvania battalion of rifle- r 6 a 

men be compleated to their original establishment. 

Resolved that two Companies of the forces now in r 6 b 

the Delaware counties be ordered to Cape May. 

Resolved that the Committee appointed to Con- ^ 

tract for cannon be directed to 

procure a number of brass or iron field pieces to be made or 
purchased immediately [and sent to Canada.] '^ 

R. 8. Come. 

Resolved that a proper assortment of Medicenes be already ap- 

„ , pointed to 

sent to Canada. procure 

medec. ? 


Resolved that Mr. James Mease be directed to pur- 
chase & forward to the Quarter Master general in New 
York as much cloth for tents as he can procure. 

Resolved that proper persons be appointed by Comd. 
Congress to purchase such articles as may be wanted of which Mr. 
for the use of the soldiers in Canada & send the Shearman is 
sam.e to Albany, that they may be forwarded to the 

' This paragraph is stricken out. 

- The words in Ijrackets are stricken out. 


army in Canada : and that they be particularly attentive to pro- 
vide in time a sufificient number of leathern breeches & under 
waistcoats, and such other winter cloathing as may be necessary 
for them. 

P Resolved that the Committee appointed to contract 

for the making of shoes for the army be directed to 
forward with all expedition to the Quarter Master in Canada such 
as are already provided. 

R, 12. 


R. 13. 

Resolved that Prisoners taken by continental arms 
be not exchanged by any authority but the Continental 

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee 
that all vessels which sailed from the port or harbor 
of Boston whilst the town of Boston was in possession of the 
enemy, having on board the effects belonging to the enemies of 
America & which have been or may be seized be liable, together 
with the said effects, to confiscation ; in the same manner and 
proportions as have been heretofore resolved by Congress. 

T, Resolved that the Continental agents in the respec- 

tive colonies where no courts have been established 
for the trial of captures have power & be directed to dispose at 
public sale of such articles of a perishable nature as shall be 
taken from the enemies of America, and that the money arising 
from such sale be liable to the decree of such court whenever 

Resolved that the inventory of the Ordinance Stores taken 
by Capt. Manly be sent to General Washington, & that he be 
requested to appoint a person on the part of the Colonies to join 
one on the part of Captain Manly & his crew, who, having first 
taken an oath for that purpose, shall proceed to value the same, 
& if they cannot agree in the value they shall call in a third per- 
son to determine the same : that the report of such persons be 
returned to Congress so soon as may be, and the value of the 
stores belonging to Captn. Manly & his crew be thereupon trans- 
mitted them. 



[June, 1776.] 


A Bill for new modelling the [A Bil]\ for new-modelling 

form of government and for the form of Government and 

establishing the Fundamental for establishing the Fundamen- 

principles of our future Con- tal principles thereof in future, 

Whereas George Whereas George 

king of Great Britain & Ireland Guelf king of Great Britain and 

and Elector of Hanover.^ Ireland and Elector of Hanover, 

' The fair copy is endorsed in Jefferson's handwriting, "A Bill for new 
modelling the form of government, & for establishing the fundamental princi- 
ples thereof in future. It is proposed that this bill, after correction by the 
Convention, shall be referred by them to the people, to be assembled in their 
respective counties and that the suffrages of two thirds of the counties shall be 
requisite to establish it." The rough draft has no preamble, though space was 
left for it. In both copies the erasures and interlineations are indicated. The 
bracketed portions in Roman are so written by Jefferson. Those in italic are 
inserted by the editor. For these most important papers I am under obligation 
to the courtesy of Mr. Cassius F. Lee of Alexandria, Va., and Mr. Worth- 
ington Chauncey Ford, of Brooklyn, N. Y., not merely for photographic 
reproductions, but also for the facts concerning them given at large in his Jt'ffi.r- 
son's Constitution for Virginia {The Nation, LI, 107). This constitution, 
though mentioned in several of the histories and other works concerning 
Virginia, and though seen by Wirt {Life of Patrick Henry, p. 196), and by 
Leigh {Debates of Virginia Convention, i8jo, p. 160), has never yet been printed 
or even quoted. The history of its production is as follows : 

On December 4, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved that if the " Con- 
vention of Virginia shall find it necessary to establish a form of government in 
that Colony, it be recommended to that Convention to call a full and free 
representation of the people, and that the said representatives, if they think it 
necessary, establish such forms of government as in their judgment will best 
produce the happiness of the people." The Convention received this resolution 
on Dec. 13th, but took no action upon it. In April a new Convention was 
elected, which met on May 6th, and on May 15th appointed a Committee to pre- 

* This heading is written on a separate sheet, the remainder of the page being 
left blank. 


heretofore entrusted with the 
exercise of the kingly office in 
this government hath endeav- 
ored to pervert the same into a 
detestable and insupportable 
tyranny ; 

by putting his negative on laws 
the most wholesome & neces- 
sary for ye public good ; 

pare a " Declaration of Rights" and a " Form of Government." In the mean 
time the Continental Congress, on motion of John Adams, May lo, 1776, 
" recommended to the respective assemblies and conventions of these United 
Colonies where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs hath 
been hitherto established, to adopt such government as shall in the opinion of 
the representatives of the people best conduce to the happiness and safety of 
their constituents in particular, and America in general." On May 27th the 
resolutions of the Virginia Convention were laid before the Continental Con- 
gress, and between that date and the middle part of June, Jefferson, while 
attending Congress, drew up this constitution. This he forwarded to Pendle- 
ton in the Convention, by George Wythe, who was returning from Congress to 
Virginia, and the latter wrote him, July 27, 1776 : 

"When I came here the plan of government had been committed to the 
whole house. To those who had the chief hand in forming it the one you put 
into my hands was shewn. Two or three parts of this were, with little altera- 
tion, inserted in that : but such was the impatience of sitting long enough to 
discuss several important points in which they differ, and so many other mat- 
ters were necessary to be dispatched before the adjournment that I was per- 
suaded the revision of a subject the members seemed tired of would at that 
time have been unsuccessfully proposed." Of it, Jeft'erson, in 1825, wrote : 

" I was then at Philadelphia with Congress; and knowing that the Convention 
of Virginia was engaged in forming a plan of government, I turned my mind 
to the same subject, and drew a sketch or outline of a Constitution, with a 
preamble, which I sent to Mr. Pendleton, president of the convention, on the 
mere possibility that it might suggest something worth incorporation into that 
before the Convention. He informed me afterwards by letter, that he received 
it on the day on which the Committee of the Whole had reported to the House 
the plan they had agreed to ; that that had been so long in hand, so disputed 
inch by inch, and the subject of so much altercation and debate ; that they were 
worried with the contentions it had produced, and could not, from mere lassi- 
tude, have been induced to open the instrument again ; but that, being pleased 
with the Preamble to mine, they adopted it in the House, by way of amendment 
to the Report of the Committee ; and thus my Preamble became tacked to the 


by denying to his governors 
permission to pass laws of 
immediate and pressing im- 
portance, unless suspended in 
their operations for his assent, 
and, when so suspended, neg- 
lecting to attend to them for 
many years ; 

work of George Mason. The Constitution, with the Preamble, was passed on 
the 29th of June, and the Committee of Congress had only the day before that 
reported to that body the draught of the Declaration of Independence. The 
fact is, that that Preamble was prior in composition to the Declaration ; and both 
having the same object, of justifying our separation from Great Britain, they 
used necessarily the same materials of justification, and hence their similitude." 

Jefferson, both at the time, and afterwards, denied the power of the Virginia 
Convention to adopt a permanent constitution, on the grounds that it was 
chosen an executive body to carry on the war, and that independence and the 
establishment of a state government were not before the people when they 
chose the delegates to it. Edmund Randolph (MS. History of Virginia, p. 63) 
states that : 

" Mr. Jefferson, who was in Congress, urged a youthful friend in the conven- 
tion to oppose a permanent constitution until the people should elect deputies 
for the special purpose. He denied the power of the body elected (as he con- 
ceived them to be agents for the management of the war) to exceed some tem- 
porary regimen." The leading members of the convention, however, according 
to Randolph, "saw no distinction between the conceded powers to declare 
independence, and its necessary consequence, the fencing of society by the 
institution of government." 

In pursuance of his opinion, Jefferson's proposed constitution was given the 
form of a mere act, and much is included which has no place in a constitution. 
The non-concurrence of the convention in his view, and even more, the aristo- 
cratic limits on the franchise and the unfavorable discrimination against the 
western counties, that the planter and tide-water representatives secured, 
which made " no grosser error than to suppose that the Constitution of Virginia 
was formed in 1776, [for] its two great distinctive features, the sectional, and 
the aristocratic, had been given to it a century before " (Debates of Virginia 
Convention, i8jo), were the causes for his dislike of the Constitution adopted 
in 1776, and of his constant attempts to obtain its alteration. His objections 
are indicated in his Notes on Virginia (Query xni, ^ 5) as well as in his cor- 
respondence, and his prejiaration of his " Fundamental Constitution " in 1783 
and his "Notes for a Constitution " in 1794; both of which form striking 
examples, in contrast to this, of the democratic development of liis mind. 


by refusing to pass certain other 
laws, unless the person to be 
benefited by them would re- 
linquish the inestimable right 
of representation in the legis- 

by dissolving legislative assem- 
blies repeatedly and continu- 
ally for opposing with manly 
firmness his invasions on the 
rights of the people ; 

when dissolved, by refusing to 
call others for a long space 
of time, thereby leaving the 
political system without any 
legislative head ; 

by endeavoring to prevent the 
population of our country, & 
for that purpose obstructing 
the laws for the naturalization 
of foreigners & raising the 
condition \lackmg appro\'^x\z.- 
tions of lands ; 

\by keeping among «]s, in times, 
of peace, standing armies and 
ships of war ; 

[/aeh'ng^ing to render the mil- 
itary independent of & superi- 
or to the civil power ; 

by combining with others to 
subject us to a foreign juris- 
diction, giving his assent to 
their pretended acts of legisla- 

for quartering large bodies of 
troops among us ; 

for cutting off our trade with 
all parts of the world ; 


for imposing taxes on us without 
our consent ; 

for depriving us of the benefits 
of trial by jury ; 

for transporting us beyond seas 
to be tried for pretended 
offences ; and 

for suspending our own legisla- 
tures & declaring themselves 
invested with power to legis- 
late for us in all cases what- 
soever ; 

by plundering our seas, rava- 
ging our coasts, burning our 
towns and destroying the lives 
of our people ; 

by inciting insurrections of our 
fellow subjects with the al- 
lurements of forfeiture & 
confiscation ; 

by prompting our negroes to 
rise in arms among us ; those 
very negroes whom ho hath 

human use of his negative he 
hath refused permission to 
exclude by law ; 

by endeavoring to bring on the 
inhabitants of our frontiers 
the merciless Indian savages, 
whose known rule of warfare 
is an undistinguished destruc- 
tion of all ages, sexes, & con- 
ditions of existence ; 

by transporting at this time a 
large army of foreign merce- 
naries \to complete] the works 
of death, desolation & tyranny 



Be it therefore enacted by the 
authority of the people that the 
said George the third king of 
Great Britain and elector of 
Hanover formerly holding — & 

already begun with circum- 
\5tanccs\ of cruelty & perfidy 
so unworthy the head of a 
civilized nation ; 
by answering our repeated peti- 
tions for redress with a repe- 
tition of injuries ; 
and finally by abandoning the 
helm of government and de- 
claring us out of his allegiance 
& protection ; 

by which several acts of mis- 
rule the said George 
Guelf has forfeited the kingly 
ofhce and has rendered it neces- 
sary for the preservation of the 
people that he should be imme- 
diately deposed from the same, 
and divested of all its privileges 
powers, & prerogatives : 

And forasmuch as the public 
liberty may be more certainly 
secured by abolishing an office 
which all experience hath shewn 
to be inveterately inimical there- 
to or which and it will there- 
upon become further necessary 
to re-establish such ancient 
principles as are friendly to the 
rights of the people and to de- 
clare certain others which may 
co-operate with and fortify the 
same in future. 

Be it therefore enacted by 
the authority of the people that 
the said, George Guelf 

be, and he hereby is deposed 
from the kingly office within 




exercising th e kingly power of - 
ficci within this colony b e & b e 
isj be & he is hereby absolutely 
div e otod of deposed from the 
kingly office & powcro withiR ' 
this colony , within yt govern- 
ment & absolutely divested of 
all it's rights and powers & that 
he & his descendants & all 
persons claimg by or through 
him & all other persons what- 
soever -afe — hereby — declared, 
shall be & forever remain in- 
capable of b e ing — again — ap- 
pointed to holding the same & 
further that the sd office shall 
henceforth cease and be never 
more erected within this govern - 
ment colony. 

And be it further enacted by 
the authority aforesaid that -the 
in - lieu of those which have here - 
t ofor e taken place the following 
fundamental lav/s & principles 
of government shall henceforth 
be established. 

The Legislative, Executive, 
& Judicial offices shall be kept 
for ever separate, & no person 
exercising the one shall be 
capable of appointment to ..the 
others or to either of them. 

Legislation shall be exer- 

Legislative.^^^^^ by two separate 

houses who shall bo 

called th e General AGsembly of 

this government and absolutely 
divested of all it's rights, powers, 
and prerogatives : and that he 
and his descendants and all 
persons acting by or through 
him, and all other persons what- 
soever shall be and forever re- 
main incapable of the same : 
and that the said office shall 
henceforth cease and never 
more either in name or sub- 
stance be re-established within 
this colony. 

And be it further enacted by 
the authority aforesaid that the 
following fundamental laws and 
principles of government shall 
henceforth be established. 

The Legislative, Executive 
and Judiciary offices shall be 
kept forever separate ; no per- 
son exercising the one shall be 
capable of appointment to the 
others, or to either of them. 

I. Legislative. 

Legislation shall be exercised 
by two separate houses, to wit 
a house of Representatives, and 
a house of Senators, which shall 




yi.rginia ' to wit a house, of 
Representatives and a house of 
Senators which shall be called 
the General assembly of Vir- 

The sd house of representa- 
tives shall be composed of per- 
sons chosen by the people annu- 
ally on the [ day of December] 
and shlll have power to meet in 
General Assembly on the [ 
day of January ] following & so 
from time to time on their own 
adjournments, or at any other 
time when summoned by the 
Administrator, & to continue 
sitting so long as they shall think 
the publick service requires. 

Vacancies in the sd house by 
death or disqualification shall 
be filled up by the electors un- 
der a warrant from the Speaker 
of the house. 

x\ll peroono holding [half All 
male persons of full age & sane 
mind having a freehold estate in 
W of an acre] of land in .any 
town, or in [25-e] acres of land 
in the country, & all persons resi- 
dent in the country colony who 
shall have paid scot & lot to 
government the last [three two] 
years shall have right, to vote 
give their vote in the election 
of their respective representa- 
tives. And all- every person so 
qualified to vet€ elect shall be 

be called the General Assembly 
of Virginia. 

The sd house of Representa- 

tives shall be com- 


posed of persons sentatives. 
chosen by the people annually 
on the [ist day of October] and 
shall meet in General assembly 
on the [ist day of November] 
following and so from time to 
time on their own adjournments, 
or at any time when summoned 
by the Administrator and to 
shall continue sitting so long 
as they shall think the publick 
service requires. 

Vacancies in the said house 
by death or disqualification 
shall be filled by the electors 
under a warrant from the 
Speaker of the said house. 

All male persons of full age 
and sane mind hav- 
ing a freehold estate 
in [one fourth of an acre] of 
land in any town, or in [25] 
acres of land in the country, 
and all persons resident in the 
colony who shall have paid scot 
and lot to government the last 
[two years] shall ^j^^^^^^ 
have right to give 
their vote in the election of 
their respective representatives. 
And every person so qualified 





capable of being elected ; pro- 
vided he shall have given no 
bribe either directly or indirect- 
ly to any elector voting for 
^ and shall take an oath of 
fidelity to the government b& 
fore ho ontorc; state & of duty 
in his office on the exercise 
thereof hio. office , and shall hold 
during his continuance therein 
in the said office he shall hold 
no public post of profit either 
himself or by another for his 

The number of representatives 
for each county or borough shall 
be so proportioned to the num- 
ber of it's qualified electors that 
the whole number of represen- 
tatives shall not exceed [300] 
nor be less than [150] for the 
present there shall be one repre- 
sentative for every [400] quali- 
fied electors in each county or 
borough ; but when ever this 
or any future proportion shall 
be likely to exceed or fall short 
of the limits beforementioned, 
the proportion shall be again 
adjusted by the house of repre- 

The house of representatives 
when met shall be free to act 
according to their own judg- 
The Senate shall consist of [+5] 

Senate. ""^^ ^^'' ^'^^^ [^S] 
nor more than [50] 

to elect shall be capable of be- 
ing elected, provided he shall 
have given no bribe either di- 
rectly or indirectly to any elec- 
tor, and shall take an oath of 
fidelity to the state and of duty 
in his office, before he enters on 
the exercise thereof. During 
his continuance in the said of- 
fice he shall hold no public 
pension nor post of profit, 
either himself, or by another 
for his use. 

The number of Representa- 
tives for each county or borough 
shall be so proportioned to the 
numbers of it's qualified elec- 
tors that the whole number of 
representatives shall not exceed 
[300] nor be less than [125.] 
for the present there shall be 
one representative for every 
[ ] qualified electors in each 
county or borough : but when- 
ever this or any future propor- 
tion shall be likely to exceed 
or fall short of the limits be- 
forementioned, it shall be again 
adjusted by the house of repre- 

The house of Representatives 
when met shall be free to act 
according to their own judg- 
ment and conscience. 

The Senate shall consist of 
not less than [15] g^^^^^ 
nor more than [50] 




members a t the Icaot, who shall 
be appointed by the house of 
representatives [for lif e . Their 
qualifications shall be an oath of 
fidelity to government the state 
& of duty in their office the be- 
ing of [31] years of age at the 
least and the having given no 
bribes- directly or indirectly to 
obtain theirappointment : while 
in the Senatorial office they shall 
be incapable of holding any pub- 
lic posts- of profits either them- 
selves or by others for their use. 

With the house of Senatoro] ' 
One third of them shall be re- 
moved out of office by lot at the 
end of the first three years «& 
their places be supplied by a 
new appointment ; one other 
third shall be removed by lot 
in like manner at the end of the 
second three years & their places 
be supplied by a new appoint- 
ment ; after which one third 
shall be removed annually at the 
end of every three years accord- 
ing to seniority. When once 
removed they shall be forever 
incapable of being re-appointed 
to that house. 

The judges of the General 
court & of the High court of 
chancery shall have session & 
deliberative voice but not suf- 
frage in the house of Senators. 

members who shall be appointed 
by the house of Representatives. 
One tliird of them shall be re- 
moved out of office by lot at the 
end of the first [three] years 
and their ])laces be supplied by 
a new appointment ; one other 
third shall be removed by lot in 
like manner at the end of the 
second [three] years and their 
places be supplied by a new 
appointment ; after which one 
third shall be removed annually 
at the end of every [three] 
years according to seniority. 
When once removed, they shall 
be forever incapable of being 
re-appointed to that house. 
Their qualifications shall be an 
oath of fidelity to the state, and 
of duty in their office, the being 
[31] years of age at the least, 
and the having given no bribe 
directly or indirectly to obtain 
their appointment. While in 
the senatorial office they shall 
be incapable of holding any 
public pension or post of profit 
either themselves, or by others 
for their use. 

The judges of the General 
court and of the High court of 
Chancery shall have session and 
deliberative voice, but not suf- 
frage in the house of Senators, 

' This portion in brackets is cancelled by the paragraph following, which is 
pasted as a flap over it. 




The Senate & the house of 
representatives shall each of 
them have power to originate & 
amend bills, save only that 
money bills shall be originated 
& amended by the Representa- 
tives only ; •aft4 the assent of 
both .houses shall be requisite 
to pass a law. 

The General Assembly shall 
have no power to pass, any law 
inflicting death- for any crime 
excepting murder & excepting 
also those offences in the mili- 
tary service for which they shall 
think punishment of death ab- 
solutely necessary ; nor shall 
they have power to prescribe 
and all capital punishments' in 
other cases are hereby abol- 
ished : nor shall they have 
power to prescribe torture in 
any case whatever ; nor for in - 
flicting torture for - in ^ any cause 
whatever -nor shall any law for 
levying money be in force longer 
than [ten] years from the time 
of it's commencement. 

Two thirds of the members 
of either house shall be a quo- 
rum to proceed to business. 

Delegates see post. 

Fe*^ The exercioo of tho 
Executive executive powers 
Administra- shall be exercised 
fey in manner fol- 
lowing one person to be called 

The Senate and the house of 
representatives shall each of 
them have power to originate 
and amend bills ; save only that 
bills for levying money feiils 
shall be originated and amended 
by the representatives only : 
the assent of both houses shall 
be requisite to pass a law. 

The General assembly shall 
have no power to pass any law 
inflicting death for any crime, 
excepting murder, &s uch those 
offences in the military service 
for which they shall think pun- 
ishment by death absolutely 
necessary : and all capital pun- 
ishments in other cases are here- 
by abolished. Nor shall they 
have power to prescribe torture 
in any case whatever : nor shall 
there be power anywhere to 
pardon crimes or to remit fines 
or punishments : nor shall any 
law for levying money be in 
force longer than [ten years] 
from the time of its commence- 

[Two thirds] of the members 
of either house shall be a Quo- 
rum to proceed to business, 

II. Executive. 

The executive powers shall 
be exercised in manner fol- 

One person to be Adminis- 
called the [Adminis- trator 




the [Administrator] who shall be 
annually appointed by the [house 
of representatives ] 

on the second day of their first 
session, ■& who after having 
acted [one] year shall be incap- 
able of being again appointed 
4itt to that office until he shall 
have been out of the ««td- same 
office [three] years. 

Under him shall be appointed 
Deputy ^y the' same house 
Adrar. & at the same time 

a Deputy Administrator to as- 
sist his principal in the dis- 
charge of his office, & to suc- 
ceed to the whole pow e rs there 
©f in case of his death before 
the year shall have expired, to 
the whole powers thereof dur- 
ing the residue of the year. 

The Administrator shall pos- 
sess the powers formerly held 
by the king save only that 
he shall be bound by acts of 
legislature tho' not ex- 
pressly named, 
he shall have no negative on 
the bills of the Legislature, 
he shall be liable to action 
tho' not to personal re- 
straint for' private duties 
or wrongs ? 
he shall not possess ae the 

prerogatives -ef 
of dissolving, proroguing, or 
adjourning either house of 

trator] shall be annually appoint- 
ed by the house of Represen- 
tatives on the second day of 
their first session, who after hav- 
ing acted [one] year shall be 
incapable of being again ap- 
pointed to that office until he 
shall have been out of the same 
[three] years. 

Under him shall be appointed 
by the same house Deputy 
and at the same Admr. 

time, a Deputy-Administrator 
to assist his principal in the 
discharge of his office, and to 
succeed, in case of his death 
before the year shall have ex- 
pired, to the whole powers there- 
of during the residue of the 

The administrator shall pos- 
sess the power formerly held 
by the king : save only that, 
he shall be bound by acts of 
legislature tho' not expressly 
named ; 

he shall have no negative on 
the bills of the Legislature ; 
he shall be liable to action, 
tho' not to personal re- 
straint for private duties or 
wrongs ; 
he shall not possess the pre- 
rogatives ; 
of dissolving, proroguing or 
adjourning either house of 
Assembly ; 




of Declaring war or making - 
concluding peace 

of issuing letters of marque 
or reprisal 

of raising or introducing 
armed forces, building 
armed vessels, forts or 

of coining monies or regulat- 
ing their value. 

of regulating weights & 

of erecting courts, offices, 
boroughs, corporations, 
fairs, markets, ports, bea- 
cons, lighthouses, sea- 

of laying embargoes or pro- 
hibiting the exportations of 
any commodity for a longer 
space than 4 days. 

of retaining or recalling a 
member of the state but 
by legal process pro delic- 
to vel contractu. 

of making denizens. 

of pardoning crimes or re- 
mitting fines or punishmts. 

of creating dignities or grant- 
ing rights of precedence. 

but these powers shall be 
exercised by the legislature 

of declaring war or conclud- 
ing peace ; 

of issuing letters of marque 
or reprisal ; 

of raising or introducing 
armed forces, buildino- 
armed vessels, forts or 
strongholds ; 

of coining monies or regulat- 
ing their values ; 

of regulating weights and 
measures ; 

of erecting courts, ofiices, 
boroughs, corporations, 
fairs, markets, ports, bea- 
cons, lighthouses, sea- 

of laying embargoes, or pro- 
hibiting the exportation of 
any commodity for a longer 
space than [40] days. 

of retaining or recalling a 
member of the state but by 
legal process pro delicto 
vel contractu. 

of making denizens. 

of pardoning - crimes, or re - 
mitting fines - or punioh - 
■ m e n to . 

of creating dignities or 
granting rights of preced- 
but these powers shall be exer- 
cised by the legislature alone, 
and excepting also those 
powers which by these funda- 
mentals are given to others, or 



A privy council shall be 
Privy annually appointed 

Council. by the house of Rep- 
resentatives to consi s t of s uch 
number ac th e y shall whose duty 
it shall be to give advice to the 
Administrator when called on by 
him. With them the Deputy 
Admr shall have session & suf- 
Delegates insert here. 

Treasurer , A Treasurer &c. 
Delegates see below 

High Sheriffs and coroners 

ci. -a o. of counties shall be 
Sheriffs &c. 

annually elected by 

hose qualified to vote for repre- 
sentatives : but ofificero of th e 
courts of general jurisdiction 
aft4 \_part missing\ ^by — thoir 
r e opectiv e courts and no person 
who shall have served as high 

A Privy council shall be an- 
ually appointed by Privy 

the house of repre- Council 
sentatives whose duties it shall 
be to give advice to the Admin- 
istrator when called on by him. 
With them the Deputy Admini- 
strator shall have session and 

Delegates to represent this 

colony in the Ameri- -^ , , 

•^ Delegates 

can Congress shall 

be appointed when necessary 
by the house of Representa- 
tives. After serving [one] year 
in that office they shall not be 
capable of being re-appointed 
to the same during an interval 
of [one] year. 

A Treasurer shall be appoint- 
ed by the house of _ 

-' Treasurer 

Representatives who 

shall issue no money but by 
authority of both houses. 

An Attorney general shall be 
appointed by the Attorney 
house of Represent- Genrl. 


High Sheriffs and Coroners 
of counties shall be High Sher- 
annually elected by '^s, &c. 
those qualified to vote for rep- 
resentatives : and no person 
who shall have served as high 
sheriff [one] year shall be cap- 
able of being re-elected to the 
said office in the same county 



sheriff [one] year shall be *»- 
capable of being re-elected 
to the said office in the 
same county till he shall 
have been out of office [five] 

All other officers civil & mili- 
DclcgatoQ tary shall be ap- 
occ below pointed by the Ad- 
ministrator but such appoint- 
Other ment shall be sub- 
officers ject to the negative 
of the privy council. Saving 
however to the legislature a 
right power of transferring 
from — the — Administrator — the 
right of y e to any other per- 
sons appointment of ouch offi - 
cers to any persons they may 
• think fit of such offices or any 
of them. 

The A Treasurer shall be ap- 

_ pointed by the house 

Treasurer ^ ■' 

of Representatives, 

who shall issue no money but by 
warrant from authority of both 

Delegates shall be appoint e d 
to represent this col- 
ony in the American 
Congress shall be appointed 
when necessary by the H. of 
Represves, who shall not — be 
after serving [two] years in that 
office they shall not be capable 
of being re-appointed to the 
same during an interval of [two] 


till he shall have been out of 
office [five] years. 

All other Officers civil and 
military shall be ap- Other 

pointed by the Ad- Officers 
ministrator ; but such appoint- 
ment shall be subject to the 
negative of the Privy council, 
saving however to the Legisla- 
ture a power of tran sf erring to any 
other persons the appointment 
of such officers or any of them. 



The Judicial powers shall be 
Judicial exercised 

First by County courts & 
other inferior jurisdictions. 

Secondly by a General Court 
& a High Court of Chan- 

Thirdly by a Court of Ap- 

The justic e s j udgesof the Coun- 
County ty courts & other 
Courts inferiorjurisdictions 

shall be appointed by the Ad- 
ministrator, subject to the nega- 
tive of the privy council. They 
shall not be fewer than [five] 
in number their jurisdiction 
shall be defined from time to 
time by the Legislature : & they 
shall be removable for misbe- 
havior by the court of Appeals. 

The judges of the General 
Genl Court court & of the High 
& Chan- court of Chancery 
^^"^^ shall be appointed 

by the Administrator and Privy 
council. If kept united they 
shall be [5] in number, if sepa- 
rate there shall be Ypart lacking] 
& [3] for the High Court of 
Chancery. The appointment 
shall be made from the faculty 
of the law and of such persons 
of that faculty as shall have ac- 
tually exercised the same at 
som» the bar or bar& of some 

HI. Judiciary. 
The Judiciary powers shall 

be exercised 
First, by County courts and 
other inferiorjurisdictions : 
Secondly, by a General court 
& a High court of Chan- 
cery : 

Thirdly, by a Court of Ap- 
The judges of the county 
courts and other County 

inferior jurisdic- Courts, &c. 
tions shall be appointed by the 
Administrator, subject to the 
negative of the privy council. 
They shall not be fewer than 
[five] in number. Their juris- 
dictions shall be defined from 
time to time by the legislature : 
and they shall be removable for 
misbehavior by the court of 

The Judges of the General court 
and of the High Genl. Court 
court of Chancery ct. of 

shall be appointed Chancery 
by the Administrator and Privy 
council. If kept united they 
shall be [5] in number, if sepa- 
rate, there shall be [5] for the 
General court & [3] for the 
High court of Chancery. The 
appointment shall be made from 
the faculty of the law, and of 
such persons of that faculty as 
shall have actually exercised 
the same at the bar of some 




court or courts of record within 
this colony for [seven] years. 
They shall hold their commis- 
sions during good behavior, for 
breach of which they shall be 
removable by the court of Ap- 
peals. Their jurisdiction shall 
be defined from time to time by 
the Legislature. 

The court of Appeals shall 
Court of consist of not less 
Appeals than [7] nor more 
than [i i] members to be - chooon 
appointed by the house of Rep- 
resentatves ; they shall hold 
their offices during good be- 
havior, for breach of which 
they shall be removal by an act 
of the legislature only. Their 
jurisdiction shall be to deter- 
mine finally all causes removed 
before them from the General 
court or High court of Chancery 
on suggestion of error, to re- 
move judges of the General 
court or High court of Chan- 
cery or of the County courts or 
other inferior jurisdictions for 
misbehavior : [to try impeach- 
ments against -e^ high offenders 
*e-b€ lodged before them by the 
House of representatives for 
such crimes as shall bo hereaf- 
t er defined shall hereafter* be 
precisely defined by the Legis- 
lature ohallhoroaftor define with 
precision and {ilkgihle] and for 
the punishment of which the sd 

court or courts of record within 
this colony for [seven] years. 
They shall hold their commis- 
sions during good behavior, for 
breach of which they shall be 
removable by the court of Ap- 
peals. Their jurisdiction shall 
be defined from time to time by 
the Legislature. 

The Court of Appeals shall 
consist of not less Court of 
than [7] nor more Appeals 
than [11] members, to be ap- 
pointed by the house of Rep- 
resentatives : they shall hold 
their offices during good be- 
havior, for breach of which 
they shall be removable by an 
act of the legislature only. 
Their jurisdiction shall be to 
determine finally all causes re- 
moved before them from the 
General Court or High Court 
of Chancery, or of the county 
courts or other inferior juris- 
dictions for misbehavior : [to 
try impeachments against high 
offenders lodged before them 
by the house of representatives 
for such crimes as shall hereaf- 
ter be precisely defined by the 
Legislature, and for the punish- 
ment of which, the said legisla- 
ture shall have previously pre- 
scribed certain and determinate 
pains.] In this court the judges 
of the General court and High 
court of Chancery shall have 





Legislature shall have previous- 
ly presented certain & deter- 
minate pains. In this court the 
judges of the Genl Ct., &: High 
Ct. of Chancy shall have ses- 
sion and deliberative voice but 
no suffrage. 

All facts, in causes, whether 
of Chancery, Com- 
mon, Ecclesiastical 
or Marine law, shall be tried by 
a jury upon evidence given viva 
voce in open court ; unl e sS ' but 
where witnesses are out of the 
colony ifi — which — eas^ — their 
■ depositions — may be — used - or 
unable to attend - through by - 
through sickness or other invin- 
cible necessity, their depositions 
may be propos e d submitted to 
the credit of the jury. 
All Fines & Amercements shall 
Fines ^^ fix e d by juri e s 

and determined as- 
sessed and terms of imprison- 
ment for Contempts shall - or 
misdemeanors shall be fixed by 
the verdict of a jury. 

All process original & judi- 

of;i- of cial procGoo shall -ts- 

process .^we run in the name 

\part lacking] which it issues. 

Two thirds of the mem- 

bers of the General 

Court, High court of 

Chancery, or Court of Appeals 

shall be a Quorum to proceed 

to business. 

session and deliberative voice, 
but no suffrage. 


All facts in causes whether 
of Chancery, Common, Ecclesi- 
astical, or Marine law, shall 
be tried by a jury 
upon evidence given 
viva voce, in open court : but 
where witnesses are out of the 
colony or unable to attend 
through sickness or other in- 
vincible necessity, their deposi- 
tion may be submitted to the 
credit of the jury. 

Fines, &c. 

All Fines or Amercements 
shall be assessed, 
& Terms of impris- 
onment for Contempts & Mis- 
demeanors shall be fixed by the 
verdict of a Jury. 

All Process Original & Judi- 
cial shall run in the „ 

name of the court 

from which it issues. 

Two thirds of the members 
of the General court. 
High court of Chan- 
cery, or Court of Appeals shall 
be a Quorum to proceed to 






Unappropriated or Forfeited 
lands shall be appro- 
priated by the Ad- 
ministrator-aadwith the consent 
of the privy council. 

Fifty acres of la 

Every mal e person of full 
age neither owning nor having 
owned [50] acres of land shall 
be entitled to an appropriation 
of [50] acres or to so much as 
shall make up what he owns or 
lias owned [50] acres in full and 
absolute dominion. And no 
other person shall be capable 
of taking an appropriation. 

Lands heretofore holden of 
the crown in fee simple and 
those hereafter to be appropri- 
ated shall be holden of no su - 
perior by him in full and abso- 
lute dominion of no superior 

No lands shall be appropri- 
ated until purchased of the 
Indian natives proprietors nor 
shall any purchases be made of 
them but on behalf of the public 
by authority of acts of the Gen- 
eral assembly to be mad e passed 
for every purchase specially 

[part lackittg] contained with- 
in the charters erecting the 
colonies of Maryland, Pennsyl- 
vania, North & South Carolina, 
are hereby ceded ■& released and 

IV. Rights, Private and 

Unappropriated or Forfeited 

lands shall be appro- 

priated by the Ad- 
ministrator with the consent of 
the Privy council. 

Every person of full age neither 
owning nor having owned [50] 
acres of land, shall be en- 
titled to an appropriation of 
[50] acres or to so much as 
shall make up what he owns or 
has owned [50] acres in full 
and absolute dominion. And no 
other person shall be capable 
of taking an appropriation. 

Lands heretofore holden of 
the crown in fee simple, and 
those hereafter to be appropri- 
ated shall be holden in full and 
absolute dominion, of no su- 
perior whatever. 

No lands shall be appropri- 
ated until purchased of the In- 
dian native proprietors ; nor 
shall any purchases be made of 
them but on behalf of the pub- 
lic, by authority of acts of the 
General assembly to be passed 
for every purchase specially. 

The territories contained 
within the charters erecting the 
colonies of Maryland, Pennsyl- 
vania, North and South Caro- 
lina, are hereby ceeded, re- 




forever confirmed to the people, 
of those pfe colonies respective- 
ly with all the rights of junsdic 
lion an4 property, jurisdiction 
-& and government and all other 
rights whatsoever claim e d now 
-ef which might at any time here- 
tofore have been claimed by 
this colony. The Western and 
Northern extent of this coun- 
try shall in all other respects 
stand as described fixed by the 
Charter of 

until by act of the Legislature 
any new a territory or one or 
more territories shall be laid off 
Westward of the Alleganey 
mountains for the establishment 
■ of any new colony or colonies, 
which colony or colonies when 
established shall be free and 
indep e ndent of this & shall shall 
be established on the same fun- 
damental laws contained in this 
instrument & shall be free & 
independent of this colony and 
of all the world. 

Descents shall go according 
to the laws of Gavelkind, save 
only that females shall have 
equal rights with males. 

No person hereafter coming 
into this country 
shall be held in 
slavery under any pretext what- 

All persons who by their 
own oath or affirmation or by 

leased, & forever confirmed to 
the people of those colonies 
respectively, with all the rights 
of property, jurisdiction and 
government and all other rights 
whatsoever which might at 
any time heretofore have been 
claimed by this colony. The 
Western and Northern extent 
of this country shall in all other 
respects stand as fixed by the 
charter of 

until by act of the Legislature 
one or more territories shall be 
laid off Westward of the Alle- 
ghaney mountains for new col- 
onies, which colonies shall be 
established on the same funda- 
mental laws contained in this 
instrument, and shall be free 
and independent of this colony 
and of all the world. 

Descents shall go according 
to the laws Gavelkind, save 
only that females shall have 
equal rights with males. 

No person hereafter coming 
into this county shall 
be held within the 
same in slavery under any pre- 
text whatever. 

All persons who by their 
own oath or affirmation, or by 




Naturaliza- other testimony shall 
tioo gj^g satisfactory 

proof to any court of record 
in this colony that they pur- 
pose to reside in the same 
[7] years at the least and who 
shall subscribe the fundamen- 
tal laws shall be considered as 
•a- residents. & entitled to all 
the rights of * persons natural 

All persons shall have full & 

_ ,. . free liberty of reli- 

Rehgion . ^ 

gious opmion ; nor 

shall any be compelled to fre- 
quent or maintain any religious 
institution. - But this shall not 
bo hold to justify — any sedi 
tious preaching or conversation 
against — the authority of th o 
civil government . 

No freeman shall be debarred 
the use of arms 
[within his own 
lands or tenements]. 

There shall be no standing 
Standing army but in time of 
Army actual war. 

Printing presses shall be free, 
except so [part lack- 
mg] of private in- 
jury they may give cause [part 
lackinif\ action. 

All forfeitures heretofore go- 

_ , .^ ing to the king shall 
Forfeitures ° 

go to the state, save 

only such as the legislature may 

hereafter abolish. 


Free Press 

other testimony shall Naturaliza- 
give satisfactory tion 

proof to any court of record 
in this colony that they pro- 
pose to reside in the same 
[7] years at the least and who 
shall subscribe the fundamen- 
tal laws, shall be considered 
as residents and entitled to all 
the rights of persons natural 

All persons shall have full 

and free liberty of „ .. . 

... . . Rehgion 

religious opinion ; 

nor shall any be compelled to 
frequent or maintain any reli- 
gious institution. 


No freeman shall be debarred 
the use of arms 
[within his own 

There shall be no standing 
army but in time of Standing 
actual war. Armies 

Printing presses shall be free, 

except so far as by 

. . ^ . Free Press 

commission of pri- 
vate injury cause may be given 
of private action. 

All Forfeitures heretofore 

going to the king, _ , ., 

° ,,^ , *^' Forfeitures 

shall go the state ; 

save only such as the legislature 

may hereafter abolish. 





Salaries, &c. 

The royal claim to Wrecks, 
ure-trove, royal 
mines, royal fish, royal birds 
are declared to have been usur- 
pations on the common right. 
No salaries or perquisites 
shall be given to 
'any officer but by 
act of the legislature. No sal- 
aries shall be given to the Ad- 
ministrator, members of the 
house of Repre s entative s , Legis- 
lative houses, judges of the 
court of appeals, juoticeo of the 
peace, member s of the — privy 
council, judges of the County 
courts or other inferior jurisdic- 
tions, Privy counsellors, or dele- 
gates to the American Con- 
gress. But the reasonable ex- 
pences of the Administrator, 
members of the house of Rep- 
resentatives, judges of the court 
of Appeals, members of Privy 
counsellors & Delegates for 
subsistence while acting in the 
duties of their office may shall - 
be borne by the public if the 
Legislature shall so direct. 

The Qualifications of all offi- 
Qualificns cers Civil, military 
of officers Executiv e — Judicial 
Civil,- military & Ecclesiastical 
shall be an oath of fidelity to 
the gov e rnm state and the hav- 
ing given no bribe to obtain 
their office. 


The royal claim to Wrecks, 

waifs, stravs, treas- „. , 
' ' ' Wrecks 

ure-trove, royal 
mines, royal fish, royal birds, 
are declared to have been usur- 
pations on common right. 

No Salaries or Perquisites 
shall be given to 
any officer but by 
some future act of the legisla- 
ture. No salaries shall be given 
to the Administrator, members 
of the legislative houses, judges 
of the court of Appeals, judges 
of the County courts, or other 
inferior jurisdictions. Privy 
counsellors, or Delegates to the 
American Congress : but the 
reasonable expences of the Ad- 
ministrator, members of the 
house of representatives, judges 
of the court of Appeals, Privy 
counsellors, & Delegates for 
subsistence while acting in the 
duties of their office, may be 
borne by the public, if the 
legislature shall so direct. 

,No person shall be capable 
of acting in any office Civil, 
Military [or Ecclesiastical] 
T4^e — Q - ualification o Qualifica- 

>^f 't il iif^t ^1*11 r^TiTin T'C\ tlOIlS 


directe d, -slvall 4) c an oath of 
fidelity to state and the having 
given no bribe to obtain th e ir 




None of these fundamental 
laws & principles of govern- 
ment shall be repealed or alt or 
altered but by the personal con- 
sent of the people to bo on 
summons to meet in their re- 
spective counties on one & the 
same day by an act of Legis- 
lature to be passed for every 
special occasion : and if in 
such county meetings the peo- 
ple of two thirds of the counties 
shall give their suffrage for 
any particular alteration or re- 
peal referred to them by the 
said act, the same shall be ac- 
cordingly repealed or altered 
or r e pealed, and such repeal 
or alteration shall take it's 
place among these fundamen- 
tal [part lacking] the same foot- 
ting with them in lieu of the 
article re- [part lacking]. 

The laws heretofore in force 
in this colony shall remain still 
in force except so far as they 
are altered by the foregoing 
fundamental laws, or so far as 
they may be hereafter altered 
by acts of the legislature. 

©ffieewho shall have given any 
bribe to obtain such office, or 
who shall not previously take 
an oath of fidelity to the state. 
None of these fundamental 
laws and principles of govern- 
ment shall be repealed or al- 
tered, but by the personal con- 
sent of the people on summons 
to meet in their respective 
counties on one and the same 
day by an act of Legislature 
to be passed for every special 
occasion : and if in such county 
meetings the people of two 
thirds of the counties shall give 
their suffrage for any particular 
alteration or repeal referred to 
them by the said act, the same 
shall be accordingly repealed or 
altered, and such repeal or al- 
teration shall take it's place 
among these fundamentals and 
stand on the same footing with 
them, in lieu of the article re- 
pealed or altered. 

The laws heretofore in force 
in this colony shall remain in 
force, except so far as they are 
altered by the foregoing funda- 
mental laws, or so far as they 
may be hereafter altered by 
acts of the Legislature. 

It is proposed that the above 
bill, after correction by the 


Convention, shall be referred 
by them to the people to be 
assembled in their respective 
counties : and that the suffrages 
of two third of the counties 
shall be requisite to establish it. 


[June 17, 1776.] 

The Committee to whom were re-committed the Cartel between 
Brigadier General Arnold & captain Forster for the exchange of 
prisoners & the several papers relating thereto have had the same 
under their consideration and agreed to the following report. 

Your committee having proceeded to make enquiry into the 
facts relating to the agreement entered into at St. Anne's between 
Brigadier General Arnold & Capt. Forster, find a part of 
them well authenticated and others not, yet being apprehensive 
that silence on the part of Congress may be construed by some 
into a ratification of the said agreement they have thought it best 
to state the same as they appear at present, with such resolutions 
as they will justify if found true, reserving final decision till the 
whole truth shall be accurately enquired into & transmitted to 

Your Committee on the best information they have been able 
to obtain find : 

That on the 24th day of May last a party of the enemy consist- 
ing as is said of about 600 men under the command of capt. 
Forster attacked a post at the Cedars held by a garrison of 350 
Qov\tineiital for\Q.&%^ then under the command of Major Butter- 

' On June i6th Congress referred this matter to Jefferson, Braxton, Paine, and 
Middleton. They made this report on June 17th, when it was read and laid 
on the table. On June 24th it was recommitted, and again reported to the 
Congress on July loth, when it passed in a much modified form. Cf. yournals 
of Cottgress, 11., 256. 


That the said post was secured by a Stoc\kade of wood? ] to 
cover the garrison from the enemy's musquetry, that there were 
mounted therein two field pieces, & that the enemy had no cannon. 

That the said garrison had ammunition & provisions sufficient 
to have lasted them ten days, that they had reason to expect /;«- 
mediate reinforcements m a few days,'^ which on a requisition from 
themselves, was actually on it's way from Montreal, and moreover 
were so near the main body of the army that they could not doubt 
being joined by detachments from thence sufficient to oblige the 
enemy to retire. 

That the enemy for two days kept up only a scattering fire, by 
which not a single man of the garrison was killed or wounded, & 
that on the third day the garrison surrendered themselves prisoners 
of war having capitulated for the preservation of their own bag- 
gage from plunder, &= that their perso?is should jiot be deliver d into 
the ha?ids of the savages.^ 

That the enemy broke the capitulation utterly & immediately 
on their part. Plundering the garrison of their baggage & strip- 
ping the cloathes from their backs, &= Delivering the Prisoners i?ito 
the ha?ids of the Savages. ' 

That they then proceeded against the reinforcement which was 
on it's way consisting of about 150 men under the command of 
Major Sherburne, that Major Sherburne & his party engaged 
& fought them with bravery : but being at length surrounded by 
numbers greatly superior and informed that the fort and garrison 
were already in the hands of the enemy, they were obliged to 
surrender themselves prisoners of war also ; but whether on capitu- 
lation or not your committee are not informed. 

That after they had put themselves into the hands of the 
enemy, the said enemy murdered two of them, butchering the one 
with tomahawks & drowning the other ; and left divers others 
exposed in an island naked & perishing with cold & famine. 

That by this time Brigadier General Arnold who had been de- 
tached by Major General Thomas to relieve the fort at the Cedars, 
approached & was making dispositions to attack the enemy. 

That capt : Forster, thereupon notified^ General Arnold, that if 

' Words in italics not in Jeffers<jn'.s handwriting. 


he attacked him, the prisoners, then 500 in number, would every 
man of them be put to death ; & proposing at the same time an 
exchange of \torn oiiti\ 

Arnold was extremely averse to entering on any agreement of 
that kind, & was at length induced to do it by no other motive 
than that of saving the prisoners from cruel & inhuman death, 
threatened in such terms as left no doubt it was to be perpetrated. 

That agreement was thereupon entered into between Brigadr. 
Genl. Arnold & capt. Forster, bearing date at St. Anne's, on the 
27th day of May, whereby the sd Forster stipulated that he would 
deliver up all the said prisoners except such as were ' Canadians, 
to Genl. Arnold ; who agreed on the other part that so many of 
equal rank & condition should be returned to the enemy of those 
taken by our arms on former occasions. That the prisoners so 
stipulated to be given up to the enemy were not in the possession 
of Genl. Arnold, nor under his direction but were at that time 
distributed through various parts of the continent under the 
orders of this house. 

That capt. Forster in violation of this agreement also detained 
a considerable number of the prisoners he had thus stipulated to 
deliver, & sent them into the Indian countries for purposes 

Whereupon your Committee have come to the following 

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that plunder- 

. . ing the baggage of the garrison at the Cedars, stripping 

them of their clothes, &> deliverg the Prisonr into ye 

hands of the Savages ' was a breach of the capitulation on the part 

of the enemy, for which satisfaction ought to be demanded. 

Resolved that the murder of two of the prisoners of war was a 

A J gross and barbarous violation of the laws of nature & 

nations, for which satisfaction should be made by the 

enemy by delivering into our hands either captain Forster or the 

individuals concerned in committing the murder. 

Resolved that the agreement entered into at St. Anne's was a 

. - mere sponsion on the part of Brigadr. Genl. Arnold, he 

not being invested with the powers for the absolute dis- 

' Words in italics not in Jefferson's handwriting. 


posal of the Continental prisoners in general ; and that therefore 
it is subject to be ratified or annulled at the discretion of this 
house, the sole representative of the United Colonies. ' 

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that Major 
Sherburne & his party having fought as men should do, so 
much of the said sponsion as relates to their exchange should 
be ratified & confirmed by this house ; & that an equal 
number of captives from the enemy, of the same rank & 
condition should be restored to them as stipulated by the said 

Resolved that \torn out\ opinion of this com. \torti oiit\ the said 
sponsion as relates to the exchange of Major Butterfield & the 
garrison surrendering with him, ought not to be ratified : because 
we should redeem none but those who will fight, and because too 
the said sponsion excepted the Canadian prisoners, &: we will in 
no case admit a distinction of countries among men fighting in 
the same cause. 

Resolved therefore that the said Major Butterfield & garrison 
should still be considered as prisoners of war, appertaining to the 
enemy ; but as by the actual murder of two of the prisoners & 
the threats at St. Anne's to put the others to death, the enemy are 
found capable of destroying their captives, the sd prisoners ought 
not to be put into their hands, but should be permitted to remain 
in their own country ; that in the meantime they shall not bear 
arms, nor otherwise act against the enemy, but are bound to de- 
mean themselves in all things in the manner of prisoners of war 
enlarged on their parole, & to hold themselves subject to be re- 
called by the enemy whenever proper security shall have been 
given that their lives shall be safe. 

Resolved that previous to the delivery of the prisoners to be 
returned in lieu of majr. Sherburne & those captivated with him, 
satisfaction be required from the enemy for the murder of the 
two prisoners by delivering into our hands capt. Forster, or the 
individuals concerned in perpetrating that horrid act ; and like- 
wise restitution for the plunder at the Cedars taken contrary to 

' Here Jefferson had written "States of America" which has been stricken 
out by another hand and " Colonies " written in its place. 

VOL. II. — 3 


the faith of the capitulation ; and that till such satisfaction & 
restitution be made, the said prisoners be not delivered. 

Resolved that it is the opinion of this committee that if the 
enemy shall put to death, torture, or otherwise ill treat any of the 
hostages in their hands, or of the Canadian, or other prisoners 
captivated by them in the service of the United colonies, recourse 
must be had to retaliation as the sole means of stopping the pro- 
gress of human butchery, & that for that purpose punishments of 
the same kind & degree be inflicted on an equal number of their 
subjects taken by us, till they shall be taught due respect to the 
violated rights of nations. 

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee, that a 
copy of this report be transmitted to the Commander in chief 
of the Continental forces in Canada, to be by him sent to 
the British commander there ; and that he moreover make further 
& diligent \torti out] into the facts therein stated, & such others 
as may [/<?r« out] same subject & rel {torn out] same duly authen- 
ticated [torn out] possible despatch [torn out] for their final de- 
cision, & that in the mean time the prisoners delivered up by the 
enemy abstain from bearing arms or otherwise acting against 


[June 17, 1776.] 

The Committee to whom the report from the Commee of the 
whole house was recommitted, have had the same under their 
consideration & agreed to the following resolutions. 

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that an ex- 
perienced general be immediately sent into Canada, with power 

' Endorsed : " Report of the Comte. on the capitulation entered into be- 
tween genl Arnold & capt. Forster. No. i brot. in June 17, 1776, read & 
ordered to lie on the table, recommitted June 24, 1776, passed July 10." 

' On May 23, 1776, Congress appointed Harrison, R. H. Lee, J. Adams, J. 
Wilson, and Edward Rutledge a committee to confer with Washington, Gates, 
and iVlifflin, " upon the most speedy and effectual means for supportmg the 
American cause in Canada." They reported to Congress the following day. 



to appoint a deputy adjutant general, a Deputy Quarter-master 
general, and such other officers as he shall find necessary for the 
good of the service, and to fill up vacancies in the army in Can- 
ada, and notify the same to Congress for their approbation. That 
he also have power to suspend any officer there till the pleasure 
of Congress be knovi^n, he giving his reasons for so doing in 
the orders of suspension & transmitting to Congress as soon as 
possible the charge against such officer. Provided that this power 
of suspending officers & filling up vacancies shall not be continued 
beyond the first day of October next. 

Resolved that no officer suttle or sell to the soldiers, on penalty 
of being fined one month's pay & dismissed the service with in- 
famy on conviction before a court martial. 

Resolved that the baggage of Officers and soldiers be regulated 
conformably to the rules in the British armies. 

Resolved that all sales of arms, an:imunition, cloathing and ac- 
coutrements made by soldiers be void. 

Resolved that no troops employed in Canada, be disbanded 
there : that all soldiers in Canada ordered to be disbanded, or 
whose times of enlistment being expired shall refuse to re-enlist, 
shall be sent under proper officrs to Ticonderoga or such other 
post on the lakes as the General shall direct, where they shall be 
mustered, and the arms, accoutrements, blankets, & utensils, 
which they may have belonging to the public shall be delivered 
up and deposited in the public store. 

Resolved that Doctor Potts be employed in the Continental service 
in the Canadian department or at Lake George as the General 
shall think best : & that his pay be dollars per month. But 

but were directed to confer further with the generals. They reported again 
May 29th, and on May 30th Congress resolved itself into a committee of the 
whole to consider the report. It was considered from time to time, a few 
resolutions being reported, till June 15th, when the committee of the whole 
reported the results of their deliberations to Congress. On the same day Con- 
gress named Jefferson, Braxton, Paine, and Middlcton a committee " to digest 
and arrange the several resolutions agreed to in the committee of the whole." 
They presented the following report (which is in Jefferson's handwriting) on 
June 17th, and with some changes it was adopted the same day. Cf. Journals 
of Congress, June 17, 1776, and Ford's Writings of Washington, iv., 109. 


this appointment is not intended to interfere with the office of 
Doctr. Stringer.' 

Resolved that a Deputy Muster Master General be immediately 
sent into Canada. 

Resolved that the local Commissaries and Quarter masters ap- 
pointed at the different garrisons or posts shall make weekly 
returns to the General of the provisions & stores in the places at 
which they may happen to be stationed. 

Resolved that the General to be sent to Canada be directed to 
view Point au fer and to order a fortress to be erected there if 
he should think proper. 

Resolved that the General officers, Deputy Quarter master 
general, Local commissaries. Paymaster in Canada, and all other 
persons there who have received public monies be ordered with- 
out delay to render and settle their accounts ; on which settle- 
ment no General officer shall receive pay as Colonel of a regi- 
ment, nor Field officer as Capt. of Company. 

Resolved that Commissioners be appointed to settle in Canada 
the debts due on Certificates given by officers to the Canadians 
for carriages and other services. & to settle also the accounts for 
such goods as may have been seized through necessity for the 
use of the army to be by them finally discharged & that it be given 
in instruction to them to attend particularly to the case of Mr. 
Bernard : and also that in settling the certified debts they state 
carefully the names of all those who have given certificates, the 
nature of the service, & the time when performed ; to return the 
whole when settled & stated to the board of treasury to be by 
them finally examined and discharged.^ 

Resolved that the Deputy Paymaster General be directed to 
transmit to Congress copies of the particulars before mentioned 
on the original certificates, with the report & remarks of the 
commissioners thereon. 

Resolved that General Schuyler be directed to make a good 
waggon road from Fort Edward to Cheshire's ; to clear Wood 
creek & to construct a Lock at Skenesborough, so as to have a 

' This paragraph is stricken out. 

' This and the succeeding paragraphs are stricken out. 



continued navigation for batteaus from Cheshires into Lake 
Champlain ; to erect a grand magazine at Cheshire's & to secure 
it by a stockaded fort ; to erect a saw mill on Schoon creek ; 
to order skillful persons to survey and take the level of the water's 
falling into Hudson's river near Fort Edward & those which fall 
into Wood creek & interlock with the former, particularly Jones's 
run & Half-way brook, the latter of which is said to discharge 
itself into Wood creek at Cheshire's. That he be directed to have 
a greater number of boats and hands kept on Hudson's river, at 
the different stations between Albany & Fort Edward in order to 
save the expence of waggonage. That he be empowered to ap- 
point proper officers to superintend the carriage by land and 
transportation by water of provisions, military stores and other 
things into Canada, that neither waste nor delay may arise therein. 
That he build with all expedition as many gallies and armed ves- 
sels as in the opinion of himself & the General officer to be sent 
into Canada shall be sufficient to make us indisputably masters 
of the lakes Champlain & George : for which purpose it is the 
opinion of this Committee there should be sent to him a master 
carpenter acquainted with the construction of the gallies used on 
the Delaware, who should take with him other carpenters, & 
models also if requisite. And that it be submitted to General 
Schuyler whether a temporary fortification or entrenched camp 
either at Crown point or opposite to Ticonderoga may be 

Resolved that the Commissary general be directed to supply 
the army in Canada with provisions, and to appoint proper offi- 
cers under him to receive and issue the same at the several posts 
taking the directions of the General ; that he be impowered to 
contract with proper persons in Canada for supplying the army 
there with fresh provisions ; that he be directed to purchase a 
quantity of Albany peas, and to furnish as much biscuit as may 
be necessary ; and that his pay be raised to one hundred & fifty 
dollars per month. 

Resolved that the Quarter-master General be directed to pro- 
vide & forward such tents, cloathing and utensils as are wanted 
for the army in Canada, subject to the direction of the Com- 
mander in chief. 


Resolved that General Washington be directed to send into 
Canada such small brass or iron field pieces as he can spare : 
that he be instructed to issue orders that no certificates be given 
in future by any but Brigadiers, Quarter-masters & their depu- 
ties, or a field officer on a march or ofiicer commanding at a 
detached post. 

Resolved that General Washington be directed to order an en- 
Referr'd to quiry to be made into the conduct of the officers here- 
i8th June tofore employed in the Canada department ; that the 
said enquiry be made at such times and places as in his judgment 
shall be most likely to do justice as well to the public as to the 
individuals ; & that the result of the said encjuiry together with 
the testimonies upon the subject be transmitted to Congress. That 
moreover all officers accused of cowardice, plundering, embezzle- 
ment of public monies & other misdemeanors be immediately 
brought to trial, and whereas Congress is informed that an opin- 
ion has prevailed that officers resigning their commissions are not 
subject to trial by a Court martial for offences committed previ- 
ous to such resignation, whereby some have evaded the punish- 
ments to which they were liable, it is hereby declared that such 
opinion is not just. 

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that Lieutt. 
Colonel Burbeck be dismissed from the Continental service for 
disobedience of orders.' 

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that General 
Washington be authorized to fill up vacancies in the army by issu- 
ing Commissions to such officers under the rank of field officers as 
he shall think proper to supply such vacancy ; he making a monthly 
return to Congress of such appointments which, unless disapproved 
of by Congress on such return, shall stand confirmed ; and that 
blank commissions be sent to the General for that purpose. 

Resolved that the pay of such of the soldiers at New York as 
have been enlisted at five dollars per month be raised to six dol- 
lars and two thirds per month. 

_ ^ , , Resolved that letters be written to the Convention 
Postpon d 

of New 

' This and the succeeding three paragraphs are stricken out. 


Resolved that a bounty of Ten dollars be given to every non- 

. . commissioned officer and soldier who will enlist to 


serve for the term of three years. 

Resolved that letters be written to the Conventions of New 
Jersey & New York and to the Assembly of Connecticut recom- 
mending them to authorize the Commander in chief in the colony 
of New York, to call to the assistance of that colony (when neces- 
sity shall require it) such of the militia of those colonies as may 
be necessary ; and to afford him such other assistance as the situ- 
ation of affairs may require. And that it be further recommended 
to the Convention of New York to empower the said Commander 
in Chief to impress carriages and water craft when necessary for 
the public service, and also to remove ships and other vessels in 
Hudson's and in the East rivers for the purpose of securing them 
from the enemy. 

Resolved that General Washington be permitted to employ the 
Indians whom he may take into the service of the United colonies 
pursuant to a resolution of Congress of the 25 May last in any 
place where he shall judge they will be most useful, and that he 
be authorized to offer them a reward of one hundred dollars for 
every commissioned officer, & of thirty dollars for every private 
soldier of the King's troops that they shall take prisoners in the 
Indian Country or on the frontiers of these colonies. 


Philadelphia, July i, 1776. 

Dear Fleming, — 

Yours of 22d June came to hand this morning and 
gratified me much, as this with your former contains 
interesting intelHgence. 

Our affairs in Canada go still retrograde, but I 
hope they are now nearly at their worst. The fatal 

From the Son/hern Literary Messenger, III, 306. 


sources of these misfortunes have been want of hard 
money with which to procure provisions, the ravages 
of the small pox with which one half of our army is 
still down, and an unlucky choice of some officers. 
By our last letters, Genl. Sullivan was retired as far 
as Isle au noix with his dispirited army and Burgoyne 
pursuing him with one of double or treble his num- 
bers. It gives much concern that he had determined 
to make a stand there as it exposes to great danger 
of losing him and his army ; and it was the universal 
sense of his officers that he ouo-ht to retire. Gen. 
Schuyler has sent him positive orders to retire to 
Crown point but whether they will reach him in time 
enough to withdraw him from danger is questionable. 
Here it seems to be the opinion of all the General 
officers that an effectual stand may be made and the 
enemy not only prevented access into New York, 
but by preserving a superiority on the lakes we 
may renew our attacks on them to advantage as 
soon as our army is recovered from the small pox 
and recruited. But recruits, tho long ordered, are 
very difficult to be procured on account of that 
dreadful disorder. 

The Conspiracy at New York is not yet thoroughly 
developed, nor has any thing transpired, the whole 
being kept secret till the whole is got through. One 
fact is known of necessity, that one of the General's 
lifeguards being thoroughly convicted was to be 
shot last Saturday. General Howe with some ships 
(we know not how many) is arrived at the Hook, 
and, as is said, has landed some horse on the 


Jersey shore. The famous major Rogers is in cus- 
tody on violent suspicion of being concerned in the 

I am elad to hear of the Higrhlanders carried into 
Virginia. It does not appear certainly how many 
of these people we have but I imagine at least 
six or eight hundred. Each effort should be made 
to keep up the spirits of the people the succeed- 
ing three months ; which in the Universal opinion 
will be the only ones in which our trial can be 

I wish you had depended on yourself rather than 
others for grivinpf me an account of the late nomina- 
tion of delegfates. I have no other state of it but the 
number of votes for each person. The omission of 
Harrison and Braxton and my being next to the lag 
give me some alarm. It is a painful situation to be 
300 miles from one's country, and thereby opened 
to secret assassination without a possibility of self- 
defence. I am willing to hope nothing of this 
kind has been done in my case, but yet I cannot 
be easy. If any doubts has arisen as to me, my 
country will have my political creed in the form of 
a ** Declaration " &c. which I was lately directed 
to draw. This will give decisive proof that my 
own sentiment concurred with the vote they in- 
structed me to give. Had the post been to go a 
day later we might have been at liberty to communi- 
cate this whole matter. 

July 2. I have kept open my letter till this morn- 
ing but nothing more new. Adieu. 





First Draft. 

A Declaration by 
the Representatives 
of the United States 
of America in gen- 
eral Congress as- 

When in the 
Course of human 
Events it becomes 
necessary for a Peo- 
ple to advance from 
that Subordination, 
in which they have 

Reported Draft. 

A Declaration by 
the Representatives 
of the UNITED 
AMERICA in Gen- 
eral Congress as- 

When in the 
course of human 
events it becomes 
necessary for one 
people to dissolve 
the political bands 
which have con- 

July 4, 1776. 

Engrossed Copy, 

In Congress, July 
4, 1776. The Unani- 
mous Declaration 
of the thirteen 
United States of 

AV h e n in the 
Course of human 
events, it becomes 
necessary for one 
people to dissolve 
the political bands 
which have con- 

' The text in the first cohimn is from a copy in the handwriting of John 
Adams, now in the Adams papers at Quincy, for which I am indebted to the 
courtesy of Mr. Charles Francis Adams and Mr. Theodore F. Dwight. From 
a comparison of it with the fac-simile of Jefferson's rough draft, it is evident 
that it represents the first phrasing of the paper. The text in the second col- 
umn is approximately that reported by the committee to Congress, and is taken 
froni Jefferson's rough draft reproduced herein in fac-simile from the original in 
the Department of State. The text in the third column is from the engrossed 
copy of the Declaration of Independence, also in the Department of State. 
Another MSS. copy in Jefferson's writing, slightly altered in wording, was in- 
serted by him in his Autobiography, and is printed, ante, i, 30. This is in 
the Department of State, as is likewise a copy in his handwriting made for 
Madison in 1783, which is reproduced in facsimile in the Madison Papers, 
vol. III. Between July 4th-ioth, Jefferson made copies of the Declaration, 
indicating his phrasing and that adopted by the Congress, and sent them to R. 
H. Lee, Wythe, Page, Pendleton, and Mazzei, and probably others. Lee 
gave his copy to the American Philosophical Society, where it now is. Those 
of Wythe, Page, and Pendleton have never been heard of. Mazzei gave his to 
the Countess de Tessie of France, and it has not been traced. A copy in 
Jefferson's writing is now owned by Dr. Thomas Addis Emmett, and a frag- 
ment of another is in the possession of Mrs. Washburn of Boston. Thus at 
least five copies and a fragment of a sixth are still extant. Cf. ante, I, 30. 

* 1 3 C. '^ 
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hitherto remained 
and to assume 
among the Powers 
of the Earth, the 
equal and indepen- 
dent Station to 
which the Laws of 
Nature and of Na- 
ture's God entitle 
them, a decent Re- 
spect to the opin- 
ions of Mankind 
requires that they 
should declare the 
Causes, which im- 
pell them to the 

We hold these 
Truths to be self 
evident ; that all 
Men are created 
equal and indepen- 
dent ; that from 
that equal Creation 
they derive Rights 
inherent and una- 
lienable ; among 
which are the Pres- 
ervation of Life, and 
Liberty, and the 
Pursuit of Happi- 
ness ; that to secure 
these Ends, Govern- 
ments are instituted 
among Men, deriv- 
ing their just Powers 
from the Consent of 
the governed ; that 

nected them with 
another and to as- 
sume among the 
powers of the earth 
the separate and 
equal station to 
which the laws of 
nature and of na- 
ture's God entitle 
them, a decent re- 
spect to the opinions 
of mankind requires 
that they should de- 
c 1 a r e the causes 
which impel them to 
the separation. 

We hold these 
truths to be self- 
evident that all men 
are created equal ; 
that they are en- 
dowed by their 
creator with inher- 
ent & inalienable 
rights, that among 
these are life, liber- 
ty, and the pursuit 
of happiness ; that 
to secure these 
rights governments 
are instituted among 
men deriving their 
just powers from the 
consent of the gov- 
erned ; that when- 
ever any form of 
government b e - 

nected them with 
another, and to as- 
sume among the 
powers of the earth, 
the separate and 
equal station to 
which the Laws of 
Nature and of Na- 
ture's God entitle 
them, a decent re- 
spect to the opinions 
of mankind requires 
that they should 
declare the causes 
which impel them 
to the separation. 

We hold these 
truths to be self-evi- 
dent, that all men 
are created equal, 
that they are en- 
dowed by their Cre- 
ator with certain in- 
alienable rights, that 
among these are 
Life, Liberty, and 
the pursuit of Hap- 
piness. — T hat to 
secure these rights, 
Governments are in- 
stituted among Men, 
deriving their just 
powers from the 
consent of the gov- 
erned. — That when- 
ever any Form of 
Government be- 




whenever, any form 
o f Government, 
shall become de- 
structive of these 
ends, it is the Right 
of the People to al- 
ter, or to abolish it, 
and to institute new 
Government, laying 
its Foundation on 
such Principles, and 
organizing its Pow- 
ers in such Form, 
as to them shall 
Seem most likely to 
effect their Safety 
and Happiness. 
Prudence indeed will 
dictate that Gov- 
ernments long es- 
tablished should not 
be changed for light 
and transient Cau- 
ses ; and according- 
ly all Experience 
hath shown, that 
Mankind are more 
disposed to Suffer, 
while Evils are Suf- 
ferable, than to right 
themselves, by abol- 
ishing the Forms to 
which they are ac- 
customed. But when 
a long Train o f 
Abuses and Usur- 
pations, begun at a 
distinguish'd Peri- 

comes destructive 
of these ends, it is 
the right of the peo- 
ple to alter or to 
abolish it, and to 
institute new gov- 
ernment, laying its 
foundation on such 
principles and or- 
ganizing its powers 
in such form, as to 
them shall seem 
most likely to effect 
their happiness. 
Prudence indeed 
will dictate that 
governments long 
established should 
not be changed for 
light and transient 
causes : and accord- 
ingly all experience 
hath shown that 
mankind are more 
disposed to suffer 
while evils are suf- 
ferable, than to right 
themselves by abol- 
ishing the forms to 
which they are ac- 
customed. But when 
a long train of 
abuses and usurpa- 
tions begun at a dis- 
tinguished period 
and pursuing in- 
variably the same 
object, evinces a de- 

comes destructive 
of these ends, it is 
the right of the Peo- 
ple to alter or to 
abolish it, and to 
institute new Gov- 
ernment, laying its 
foundation on such 
principles, and or- 
ganizing its powers 
in such form, as to 
them shall seem 
most likely to effect 
their Safety and 
Happiness. P r u - 
dence, indeed, will 
dictate that Govern- 
ments long estab- 
lished should not be 
changed for light 
and transient 
causes ; and accord- 
ingly all experience 
hath shown, that 
mankind are more 
disposed to suffer, 
while evils are suf- 
f erable, than to 
right themselves by 
abolishing the forms 
to which they are 
accustomed. But 
when a long train of 
abuses and usurpa- 
tions pursuing in- 
variably the same 
Object, evinces a 
design t o reduce 




od, and pursuing in- 
variably, the same 
object, evinces a 
Design to reduce 
them under absolute 
Power, it is their 
Right, it is their 
Duty, to throw off 
such Government, 
and to provide new 
Guards for their 
future Security. 
Such has been the 
patient Sufferance 
of these Colonies ; 
and such is now the 
Necessity, which 
constrains them to 
expunge their for- 
mer Systems of Gov- 
ernment. The His- 
tory of his present 
Majesty, is a His- 
tory of unremitting 
Injuries and Usurpa- 
tions, among which 
no one Fact stands 
Single or Solitary to 
contradict the uni- 
form Tenor of the 
rest, all of which 
have in direct ob- 
ject, the Establish- 
ment of an absolute 
Tyranny over these 
States. To prove 
this, let Facts be 
Submitted to a can- 

sign to reduce them 
under absolute des- 
potism, it is their 
right, it is their 
duty, to throw off 
such government 
and to provide new 
guards for their fu- 
ture security. Such 
has been the patient 
sufferance of these 
colonies, and such 
is now the necessity 
which constrains 
them to expunge 
their former systems 
of government. The 
history of the pres- 
ent king of Great 
Britain is a history 
of unremitting inju- 
ries and usurpations, 
among which ap- 
pears no solitary 
fact to contradict the 
uniform tenor of the 
rest ; but all having 
in direct object the 
establishment of an 
absolute tyranny 
over these states. 
To prove this let 
facts be submitted to 
a candid world, for 
the truth of which 
we pledge a faith 
yet unsullied by 

them under ab- 
solute Despotism, 
it is their right, it is 
their duty, to throw 
off such Govern- 
ment, and to pro- 
vide new Guards for 
their future security. 
Such has been the 
patient sufferance 
of these Colonies ; 
and such is now the 
necessity which con- 
strains them to alter 
their former Systems 
of Government. The 
history of the pres- 
ent King of Great 
Britain is a history 
of repeated injuries 
and usurpations, all 
having in direct 
object the establish- 
ment of an absolute 
Tyranny over these 
States. To prove 
this let Facts be 
submitted to a can- 
did world. 




did World, for the 
Truth of which We 
pledge a Faith, as 
yet unsullied b y 

He has refused 
his Assent to Laws, 
the most wholesome 
and necessary for 
the public good. 

He has forbidden 
his Governors to 
pass Laws of imme- 
diate and pressing 
Importance, unless 
suspended in their 
operation, till his 
Assent should be 
obtained ; and 
when so suspended 
he has neglected ut- 
terly to attend to 

He has refused 
to pass other Laws 
for the accommoda- 
tion of large Dis- 
tricts of People, un- 
less those Peo- 
ple would relin- 
quish the Right of 
Representation i n 
the Legislature, a 
Right inestimable to 
them, and formida- 
ble to Tyrants only. 

He has refused 
his assent to laws 
the most wholesome 
and necessary for 
the public good : 

He has forbidden 
his governors to pass 
laws of immediate 
and pressing import- 
ance, unless sus- 
pended i n their 
operation till his as- 
sent should be ob- 
tained, and when so 
suspended, he has 
utterly neglected to 
attend to them. 

He has refused to 
pass other laws for 
the accommodation 
of large districts of 
people unless those 
people would relin- 
quish the right of 
representation, i n 
the legislature, a 
right inestimable to 
them, and formida- 
ble to tyrants only. 

He has called to- 
g e t h e r legislative 

He has refused 

his Assent to Laws, 
the most wholesome 
and necessary for 
the public good. 

He has forbidden 
his Governors to 
pass Laws of imme- 
diate and pressing 
importance, unless 
suspended in their 
operation till his 
Assent should be 
obtained ; and, when 
so suspended, he 
has utterly neg- 
lected to attend to 

He has refused 
to pass other Laws 
for the accommoda- 
tion of large districts 
of people, unless 
those people would 
relinquish the right 
of Representation 
in the Legislature, a 
right inestimable to 
them, and formida- 
ble to tyrants only. 

He has called to- 
gether legislative 


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He has dissolved 
Houses, repeatedly, 
and continually, for 
opposing with manly 
Firmness his Inva- 
sions on the Rights 
of the People. 

He has refused, 
for a long Space of 
Time after such Dis- 
solutions, to cause 
others to be elected, 
whereby the legisla- 
tive Powers, incapa- 
ble of annihilation, 
have returned to the 
People at large for 
their Exercise, the 
state remaining in 
the mean Time, ex- 
posed to all the Dan- 
gers of Invasion, 
from without, and 
Convulsions with- 
in — 

He has endeav- 
oured to prevent the 

bodies at places un- 
usual, uncomfort- 
able and distant 
from the depository 
of their public rec- 
ords, for the sole 
purpose of fatiguing 
them into compli- 
ance with his meas- 

He has dissolved 
houses repeatedly 
and continually 
for opposing with 
manly firmness his 
invasions on the 
right of the people : 

He has refused for 
along timeaftersuch 
dissolutions to cause 
others to be elected 
whereby the legisla- 
tive powers incapa- 
ble of annihilation, 
have returned to the 
people at large for 
their exercise, the 
state remaining in 
the mean time ex- 
posed to all the 
dangers of invasion 
from without and 
convulsions within : 

bodies at places un- 
usual, uncomfort- 
able, and distant 
from the de- 
pository of their 
public Records, for 
the sole purpose of 
fatiguing them into 
compliance with his 

He has dissolved 
Houses repeatedly 
for opposing with 
manly firmness his 
invasions on the 
rights of the people. 

He has refused 
for a long time after 
such dissolutions to 
cause others to be 
elected, whereby 
the Legislative 
powers, incapable 
o f Annihilation 
have returned to the 
People at large for 
their exercise, the 
State remaining, in 
the meantime, ex- 
posed to all the dan- 
ge r s of invasion 
from without, and 
convulsions within. 

He has endeav- He has endeav- 

ored to prevent the oured to prevent the 




Population of these 
States ; for that pur- 
pose obstructing the 
Laws for naturaliza- 
tion of foreigners ; 
refusing to pass 
others to encourage 
their Migrations 
hither ; and raising 
the Conditions of 
new Appropriations 
of Lands. 

He has suffered 
the Administration 
of Justice totally to 
cease in some of 
these Colonies, re- 
fusing his Assent to 
Laws for establish- 
ing Judiciary Pow- 

He has made our 
Judges dependent 
on his Will alone, 
for the Tenure of 
their offices, and 
amount of their Sal- 
aries : 

He has created a 
Multitude of new 
offices by a Self-as- 
sumed Power, and 
sent hither swarms 
of officers to har- 
rass our People and 
eat out their Sub- 

population of these 
states, for that pur- 
pose obstructing the 
laws for naturaliza- 
tion of foreigners ; 
refusing to pass 
others to encourage 
their migrations 
hither ; and raising 
the conditions o f 
new appropriations 
of lands : 

He has suffered 
the administration 
of justice totally to 
cease in some of 
these states, refus- 
ing his assent to 
laws for establishing 
judiciary powers : 

He has made 
judges dependant 
on his will alone, 
for the tenure of 
their offices and the 
amount and pay- 
ment of their sala- 
ries : 

He has erected a 
multitude of new 
offices by a self 
assumed power and 
sent hither swarms 
of officers to har- 
ass our people and 
eat out their sub- 
stance : 

population of these 
States; for that pur- 
pose obstructing the 
Laws for Naturali- 
zation of Foreigners; 
refusing to pass 
others to encourage 
their migrations 
hither, and raising 
the conditions of 
new Appropriations 
of Lands. 

He has obstructed 
the Administration 
of Justiceby refusing 
his Assent to Laws 
for establishing Ju- 
diciary powers. 

He has made 
Judges dependent 
on his Will alone, 
for the tenure of 
their offices, and the 
amount and pay- 
ment of their sal- 

He has erected a 
multitude of New 
Offices, and sent 
hither swarms of 
Officers t o harass 
our people, and eat 
out their substance. 




H e has kept 
among us, in Times 
of Peace, Standing 
Armies and Ships of 

He has affected to 
render the miHtary, 
independent of, and 
Superiour to, the 
civil Power. 

He has combined 
with others to sub- 
ject us to a Jurisdic- 
tion foreign to our 
Constitution and 
unacknowledged by 
our Laws ; giving 
his Assent to their 
pretended Acts of 
Legislation ; for 
quartering large 
Bodies o f armed 
Troops among us ; 
for protecting them 
by a Mock Tryal 
from Punishment 
for any Murders 
they should commit 
on the Inhabitants 
of these States ; for 
cutting off our 
Trade with all Parts 
of the World ; for 
imposing Taxes on 
us without our Con- 
sent ; for depriving 

VOL. II.— 4 

H e has kept 
among us in times 
of peace, standing 
armies and ships of 
war without the 
consent of our legis- 
latures : 

He has affected 
to render the mil- 
itary, independent 
of and superior to 
the civil power : 

He has combined 
with others to sub- 
ject us to a jurisdic- 
tion foreign to our 
constitutions and 
unacknowledged by 
our laws, giving his 
assent to their acts 
of pretended legisla- 
tion, for quartering 
large bodies of 
armed troops among 
us ; for protecting 
them by a mock 
trial from punish- 
ment for any mur- 
ders which they 
should commit on 
the inhabitants of 
these states ; for 
cutting off our trade 
with all parts of the 
world ; for imposing 
taxes on us without 
our consent ; for de- 
priving us in many 

H e has kept 
among us, in times 
of peace. Standing 
Armies without the 
Consent of our legis- 

He has affected 
to render the Mili- 
tary independent of 
and superior to the 
Civil power. 

He has combined 
with others to sub- 
ject us to a jurisdic- 
tion foreign to our 
constitution, and 
unacknowledged by 
our laws ; giving his 
Assent to their Acts 
of pretended Legis- 
lation : — For quar- 
tering large bodies 
of armed troops 
among us : • — For 
protecting them, by 
a mock Trial from 
punishment for any 
Murders which they 
should commit 
on the Inhabitants 
of these States : 
— For cutting off 
our trade with all 
parts of the world : 
— For imposing 
Taxes on us without 
our Consent : — For 




Us of the Benefits 
of Trial by Jury ; 
for transporting us 
beyond Seas to be 
tried for pretended 
offenses ; for taking 
away our Charters, 
and altering funda- 
mentally the Forms 
of our Government ; 
for suspending our 
own Legislatures 
and declaring them- 
selves invested with 
Power to legislate 
for us in all Cases 

He has abdicated 
Government here, 
withdrawing h i s 

cases of the benefits 
of trial by jury ; for 
transporting us be- 
yond seas to be 
tried for pretended 
offences ; for abol- 
ishing the free sys- 
tem of English laws 
in a neighboring 
province, establish- 
ing therein an arbi- 
trary government 
and enlarging its 
boundaries so as to 
render it at once 
a n example and 
fit instrument for 
introducing the 
same absolute rule 
into these colonies ; 
for taking away our 
charters, abolishing 
our most valuable 
laws, and fundamen- 
tally the forms of 
our governments, 
for suspending our 
own legislatures and 
declaring themselves 
invested with power 
to legislate for us in 
all cases whatsoever: 

He has abdicated 
government here, 
withdrawing h i s 

depriving us in 
many cases of the 
benefits of Trial by 
jury: — For trans- 
porting us beyond 
Seas to be tried for 
pretended offences : 
— For abolishing the 
free System of Eng- 
lish Laws in a neigh- 
bouring Province, 
establishing therein 
an Arbitrary govern- 
ment, and enlarging 
its Boundaries so as 
to render it at once 
an example and fit 
instrument for in- 
troducing the same 
absolute rule into 
these Colonies : — 
For taking away our 
Charters, abolishing 
our most valuable 
Laws, and altering 
fundamentally the 
Forms of our Gov- 
ernments : — For 
suspending our own 
Legislatures, and 
declaring them- 
selves invested with 
power to legislate 
for us in all cases 

He has abdicated 
Government here by 
declaring us out of 



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Governors, and de- 
claring us, out of his 
Allegiance and Pro- 

He has plundered 
our Seas, ravaged 
our Coasts, burnt 
our towns, and de- 
stroyed the Lives of 
our People. 

He is at this Time 
transporting large 
Armies of foreign 
Mercenaries to com- 
plete the Works of 
death, Desolation, 
and Tyranny, al- 
ready begun with 
Circumstances o f 
Cruelty and Perfidy 
unworthy the Head 
of a civilized Nation. 

He has endeav- 
oured to bring on 
the Inhabitants of 
our Frontiers, the 
merciless Indian 
Savages, whose 
known Rule of War- 
fare is an undistin- 
guished Destruction 
of all Ages, Sexes, 
and Conditions* of 

governors, and de- 
claring us out of his 
allegiance and pro- 

He has plundered 
our seas, ravaged 
our coasts, burnt 
our towns and de- 
stroyed the lives of 
our people : 

He is at this time 
transporting large 
armies of foreign 
mercenaries to com- 
plete the works of 
death, desolation 
and tyranny already 
begun with circum- 
stances of cruelty 
and perfidy un- 
worthy the head of 
a civilized nation : 

He has endeav- 
ored to bring on 
the inhabitants of 
our frontiers the 
merciless Indian sav- 
ages, whose known 
rule of warfare is an 
undistinguished de- 
struction of all ages, 
sexes, and condi- 
tions of existence. 

his Protection, and 
waging war against 
us : — 

He has plundered 
our seas, ravaged 
our Coasts, burnt 
our towns, and de- 
stroyed the Lives of 
our people. 

He is at this time 
transporting large 
Armies of foreign 
Mercenaries to 
compleat the works 
of death, desola- 
tion, and tyranny, 
already begun with 
circumstances of 
cruelty and perfidy 
scarcely paralleled 
in the most bar- 
barous ages, and 
totally unworthy the 
Head of a civilized 

He has excited 
domestic insurrec- 
tion among us, and 
has endeavoured to 
bring on the inhab- 
itants of our fron- 
tiers, the merciless 
Indian Savages, 
whose known rule 
of warfare, is an 
undistinguished de- 
struction of all ages, 




He has incited 
treasonable Insur- 
rections of our Fel- 
low Citizens, with 
the allurement o f 
Forfeiture and Con- 
fiscation of our 

He has waged 
cruel War against 
human Nature it- 
self, violating i t s 
most sacred Rights 
of Life and Liberty 
in the Persons of a 
distant People who 
never offended him, 
captivating and car- 
rying them into Slav- 
ery in another Hemi- 
sphere, or to incur 
miserable Death, in 
their Transportation 
thither. This pira- 
tical Warfare, the 
opprobrium of infi- 
del Powers, is the 
Warfare of the 

He has incited 
treasonable insur- 
rections of our 
fellow-citizens, with 
the allurements of 
forfeiture and con- 
fiscation of our 
property : 

He has constrained 
others, taken captive 
on the high seas to 
bear arms against 
their country, to be- 
come the execution- 
ers of their friends 
and brethren, or to 
fall themselves by 
their hands : 

He has waged 
cruel war against 
human nature itself, 
violating its most 
sacred rights of life 
and liberty in the 
persons of distant 
people, who never 
offended him, cap- 
tivating and carry- 
ing them into slavery 
in another hemis- 
phere, or to incur 
miserable death in 
their transportation 
thither. This pirati- 
cal warfare, the op- 
probrium of infidel 
powers, is the war- 
fare of the Christian 

sexes and condi- 

He has constrained 
our fellow citizens 
taken Captive o n 
the high Seas, to 
bear arms against 
their Country, to be- 
come the execution- 
ers of their friends 
and Brethren, or to 
fall themselves by 
their Hands, 




Christian King of 
Great Britain. 

He has prostituted 
h i s Negative for 
Suppressing every 
legislative Attempt 
to prohibit or to re- 
strain an execrable 
Commerce, deter- 
mined to keep open 
a Markett where 
Men should be 
bought and sold, 
and that this assem- 
blage of Horrors 
might want no Fact 
of distinguished Die 

He is now excit- 
ing those very Peo- 
ple to rise in Arms 
among us, and to 
purchase their Lib- 
erty of which he has 
deprived them, by 
murdering the Peo- 
ple upon whom he 
also obtruded them: 
thus paying off, 
former Crimes com- 
mitted against the 
Liberties of one 
People, with Crimes 
which he urges them 
to commit against 
the Lives of another. 

In every stage of 
these oppressions we 
have petitioned for 

king of Great Brit- 
ain. Determined to 
keep open a market 
where Men should 
be bought and sold, 
he has prostituted 
his negative for sup- 
pressing every legis- 
lative attempt to 
prohibit or to re- 
strain this execrable 
commerce : and that 
this assemblage of 
horrors might want 
no fact of distin- 
guished dye, he is 
now exciting those 
very people to rise 
in arms among us, 
and to purchase that 
liberty of which he 
has deprived them 
by murdering the 
people upon whom 
he also obtruded 
them ; thus paying 
off former crime 
committed against 
the liberties of one 
people, with crimes 
which he urges them 
to commit against 
the lives of another. 

In every stage of 
these oppressions 
we have petitioned 

In every stage of 
these Oppressions 
We have Petitioned 




redress, in the most 
humble Terms ; our 
repeated Petitions 
have been answered 
by repeated Injury. 
A Prince, whose 
Character i s thus 
marked by every 
Act which may de- 
fine a Tyrant, is un- 
fit to be the Ruler 
of a People who 
mean to be free. — 
future ages will 
scarce believe, that 
the Hardiness of 
one Man, adven- 
tured, within the 
Short Compass of 
twelve years only, 
on so many Acts of 
Tyranny, without a 
Mask, over a Peo- 
ple, fostered and 
fixed in the Princi- 
ples of Liberty. 

Nor have we been 
wanting in Atten- 
tions to our British 
Brethren. We have 
warned them from 
Time to Time of 
attempts of their 
Legislature to ex- 
tend a Jurisdiction 
over these our 
States. We have 

for redress in the 
most humble terms ; 
our repeated peti- 
tions have been an- 
swered only by re- 
peated injuries. A 
prince whose char- 
acter is thus marked 
by every act which 
may define a tyrant, 
is unfit to be the 
ruler of a people 
who mean to be free. 
Future ages will 
scarce believe that 
the hardiness of one 
man adventured 
within the short 
compass of twelve 
years only, to build 
a foundation, so 
broad and undis- 
guised for tyranny 
over a people fos- 
tered and fixed in 
principles of free- 

Nor have we been 
wanting in atten- 
tions to our British 
brethren. We have 
warned them from 
time to time of at- 
tempts by their 
legislature to extend 
a n unwarrantable 
jurisdiction over 
these our states. 

for Redress in the 
most humble terms : 
Our repeated Peti- 
tions have been an- 
swered only by re- 
peated injuries. 

A Prince whose 
character is thus 
marked by every 
act which may de- 
fine a Tyrant, is un- 
fit to be the ruler of 
a free people. 

Nor have We been 
wanting i n atten- 
tions to our British 
brethren. We have 
warned them from 
time to time of at- 
tempts by their 
legislature to extend 
a n unwarrantable 
jurisdiction over us. 
We have reminded 


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reminded them of 
the Circumstances 
of our Emigration 
and Settlement here, 
no one of which 
could warrant so 
strange a Preten- 
sion. That these 
were effected at the 
expense of our own 
Blood and Treasure, 
unassisted by the 
Wealth or the 
Strength of Great 
Britain ; that in 
constituting indeed, 
our Several Forms 
of Government, we 
had adopted one 
common King, 
thereby laying a 
Foundation for Per- 
petual League and 
Amity with them ; 
but that Submission 
to their Parliament, 
was no Part of our 
Constitution, nor 
ever in Idea, if His- 
tory may be cred- 
ited ; and we ap- 
pealed to their 
Nature, Justice and 
Magnanimity, a s 
well as to the Ties 
of our common 
Kindred to disavow 
these usurpations, 

We have reminded 
them of the circum- 
stances of our emi- 
gration and settle- 
ment here, no one 
of which could war- 
rant so strange a 
pretension : that 
these were effected 
at the expence of 
our own blood and 
treasure, unassisted 
by the wealth or 
strength of Great 
Britain : that in 
constituting indeed 
our several forms of 
government, we had 
adopted a common 
king, thereby laying 
a foundation for 
perpetual league and 
amity with them : 
but that submission 
to their parliament 
was no part of our 
constitution nor ever 
in idea, if history be 
credited ; and we 
have appealed to 
their native justice 
and magnanimity, 
as well as to the ties 
of our common kin- 
dred, t o disavow 
these usurpations 
which were likely to 
interrupt our con- 

them of the circum- 
stances of our emi- 
gration and set- 
tlement here. We 
have appealed to 
their native justice 
and magnanimity 
and we have con- 
jured them by the 
ties of our common 
kindred to disavow 
these usurpations 
which would inevi- 
tably interrupt our 
connection and cor- 
respondence. They 
too have been deaf 
to the voice of jus- 
tice and of consan- 
guinity. We must 
therefore acquiesce 
in the necessity 
which denounces 
our separation and 
hold them, as we 
hold the rest of 
mankind. Enemies 
in War, in Peace 




which were likely to 
interrupt our Corre- 
spondence and Con- 
nection. They too 
have been deaf to the 
Voice of Justice and 
o f Consanguinity, 
and when occasions 
have been given 
them by the regular 
Course of their 
Laws of removing 
from their Councils, 
the Disturbers of 
our Harmony, they 
have by their free 
Election, re-estab- 
lished them in 
Power. At this very 
Time too, they are 
permitting their 
Chief Magistrate to 
send over not only 
soldiers of our com- 
mon Blood, but 
Scotch and foreign 
Mercenaries, to in- 
vade and deluge us 
in Blood. These 
Facts have given 
the last Stab to 
agonizing affection, 
and manly Spirit 
bids us to renounce 
forever these unfeel- 
ing Brethren. We 
must endeavour to 
forget our former 

nection and cor- 
respondence. They 
too have been deaf 
to the voice of jus- 
tice and of consan- 
guinity, and when 
occasions have been 
given them, by the 
regular course of 
their laws of remov- 
ing from their coun- 
cils the disturbers of 
our harmony, they 
have by their free 
elections re-estab- 
lished them in power. 
At this very time 
they are permitting 
their chief magis- 
trate to send over 
not only soldiers of 
our own blood, but 
Scotch and other 
foreign mercenaries, 
to invade and de- 
stroy us. These 
facts have given the 
last stab to agonizing 
affections, and man- 
ly spirit bids us to 
renounce forever 
these unfeeling 
brethren. We must 
endeavor to forget 
our former love for 
them, to hold them 
as we hold the rest 
of mankind enemies 




Love for them, and 
to hold them, as we 
hold the rest of Man- 
kind, enemies in War, 
in Peace Friends. We 
might have been a 
free and a great Peo- 
ple together but a 
Communication of 
Grandeur and of 
Freedom it seems is 
below their Dignity. 
Be it so, since they 
will have it : The 
Road to Happiness 
and to Glory is open 
to us too ; we will 
climb it, apart from 
them, and acquiesce 
in the Necessity 
which denounces 
our eternal Separa- 

We therefore the 
Representatives of 
the United States of 
America in General 
Congress assembled, 
do, in the Name, 
and by the Author- 
ity of the good Peo- 
ple of these States, 
reject and renounce 
all Allegiance and 
Subjection t o the 
Kings of Great Brit- 
ain, and all others, 
who may hereafter 

in war, m peace 

We might have 
been a free and a 
great people to- 
gether ; but a com- 
munication of gran- 
deur and of freedom 
it seems, is below 
their dignity. Be it 
so, since they will 
have it : the road to 
happiness and to 
glory is open to us 
too ; we will climb 
it apart from them, 
and acquiesce in the 
necessity which de- 
nounces our eternal 
separation ! 

We therefore the 
representatives of 
the United States in 
General Congress 
assembled in the 
name and by au- 
thority of the 
good people of 
these states, reject 
and renounce all 
allegiance and sub- 
jection to the kings 
of Great Britain and 
all others who may 
hereafter claim by, 

We, therefore, the 
Representatives of 
the United States 
of America, in Gen- 
eral Congress As- 
sembled, appealing 
to the Supreme 
Judge of the world 
for the rectitude of 
our intentions, do, 
in the Name, and by 
Authority of the 
good People of 
these Colonies, sol- 
emnly publish and 




claim by, through, 
or under them ; We 
utterly dissolve and 
break off, all politi- 
c a 1 Connection 
which may have 
heretofore subsisted 
between us and the 
People o r Parlia- 
ment of Great Brit- 
ain, and finally we 
do assert and de- 
clare these Colonies 
to be free and inde- 
pendent States, and 
that as free andinde- 
pendent States they 
shall hereafter have 
Power to levy War, 
conclude Peace, 
contract Alliances, 
establish Commerce, 
and to do all other 
Acts and Things 
which independent 
States may of Right 
do. And for the 
Support of this Dec- 
laration, we mutu- 
ally pledge to each 
other our Lives, our 
Fortunes, and our 
Sacred Honour. 

through, or under 
them ; we utterly 
dissolve all political 
connection which 
may heretofore have 
subsisted between 
us and the people 
or parliament of 
Great Britain, and 
finally we do assert 
and declare these 
colonies to be free 
and independant, 
and that as free and 
independant states, 
they have full power 
to levy war, conclude 
peace, contract alli- 
ances, establish com- 
merce, and to do all 
other acts and things 
which independent 
states may of right 
do. And for the 
support of this dec- 
laration we mutually 
pledge to each other 
our lives, our for- 
tunes, and our sa- 
cred honour. 

declare, that these 
United Colonies 
are, and of Right 
ought to be Free 
and Independent 
States ; that they 
are Absolved from 
all allegiance to the 
British Crown, and 
that all political con- 
nection between 
them and the State 
of Great Britain, is 
and ought to be to- 
tally dissolved ; and 
that as Free and In- 
dependent states, 
they have full Power 
to levy War, con- 
clude Peace, con- 
tract Alliances, es- 
tablish Commerce, 
and to do all 
other Acts and 
Things which Inde- 
pendent States may 
of right do. 

And for the sup- 
port of this Decla- 
ration, with a firm 
reliance on the 
protection of di- 
vine Providence, 
we mutually pledge 
to each other our 
Lives, our For- 
tunes, and our sa- 
cred Honor. 



Philadelphia, July 8th, 1776. 

Dear Sir, — For news, I refer you to your brother, 
who writes on that head. I enclose a copy of the Decla- 
ration of Independence, as agreed to by the House, 
and also as originally framed : you will judge whether 
it is the better or worse for the critics. I shall return 
to Virginia after the iith of August. I wish my 
successor may be certain to come before that time : 
in that case, I shall hope to see you, and not Wythe, 
in convention, that the businessof government, which 
is of everlasting concern, may receive your aid. 
Adieu, and believe me to be your friend and servant. 


[July ? 1776.] 

The dignity and stability of government in all its 
branches, the morals of the people, and every bless- 
ing of society, depend so much upon an upright and 
skillful administration of justice, that the judicial 
power ought to be distinct from both the legislature 
and executive, and independent upon both, that so 
it may be a check upon both, as both should be 
checks upon that. The judges, therefore, should al- 
ways be men of learning and experience in the laws, 
of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness and 
attention ; their minds should not be distracted with 

' From Lee's Life of R. H. Lee, i, 275. 
* A fragment from The Balance. 11, 146. 


jarring interests ; they should not be dependent upon 
any man or body of men. To these ends they should 
hold estates for life in their offices, or, in other words, 
their commissions should be during good behavior, 
and their salaries ascertained and established by law. 
For misbehavior, the grand inquest of the colony, 
the house of representatives, should impeach them 
before the governor and council, when they should 
have time and opportunity to make their defence ; 
but if convicted, should be removed from their offi- 
ces, and subjected to such other punishment as shall 
be thought proper. 


[July, 1776] 

No person to read printed papers. 

Every colony present, unless divided, to be counted. 

No person to vote unless present when question put. 

No person to walk while question putting. 

Every person to sit while not speaking. 

Orders of day at 12 o'clock. 

Amendments first proposed to be first put. 

Commit, or officers to be named before balot. 

Call of the house every morn, absentees to be noted & ret'd to 

No members to be absent without leave of house or written ord. 
of Conventn on pain of being ret'd to Conventn. 

' On June loth, Rutledge, Jefferson, and Paine were appointed a committee to 
" draw up rules and regulations for the conduct of the house, during debate," 
and they reported a plan on July loth, which after consideration and amend- 
ment was adopted July 17th. These rough notes though undated, are clearly, 
from their similarity to the rules so adopted, those used by the committee. 



[July, 1776] 

I am sorry the situation of my domestic affairs, 
renders it indispensably necessary that I should 
solicit the substitution of some other person here in 
my room. The delicacy of the House will not require 
me to enter minutely into the private causes which 
render this necessary. I trust they will be satisfied. 
I would not urge it again, were it not unavoidable. 
I shall with cheerfulness continue my duty here till 
the expiration of our year by which time I hope it will 
be convenient for my successor to attend. 


[July, 1776?] 
To prevent every danger which might arise to American free- 
dom by continuing too long in office the members of the Conti- 
nental Congress, to preserve to that body the confidence of their 
friends, and to disarm the malignant imputation of their enemies : 
It is earnestly recommended to the several Provinces, Assemblies 
or Conventions of the United colonies that in their future elections 
of delegates to the Continental Congress one half at least of the 
persons chosen be such as were not of the delegation next pre- 
ceeding, and the residue be of such as shall not have served in 
that office longer than two years. And that their deputies be 
chosen for one year, with power to adjourn themselves from time 
to time & from place to place as occasions may require, and also 
to fix the time & place at which their successors shall meet. 

' A fragment from Girardin's History of Virginia, iv. 

' This resolution is not dated, and is apparently not entered in the yournal 
of the Continental Congress. It was probably offered in July, iTj^i, when Con- 
gress was establishing rules for its own guidance, and rejected 



PHiLADKLriiiA, July 15th, 1776. 

Dear Sir, — Yours of the 3rd inst. came to day. I 
wish I could be better satisfied on the point of Patty's 
recovery. I had not heard from her at all for two 
posts before, and no letter from herself now. I wish 
it were in my power to return by way of the Forest, 
as you think it will be impracticable for Mrs. Eppes 
to travel to the mountains. However, it will be late 
in August before I can get home, and our Conven- 
tion will call me down early in October. Till that 
time, therefore, I must defer the hope of seeing Mrs. 
Eppes and yourself. Admiral Howe is himself arrived 
at New York, and two or three vessels, supposed to 
be of his fleet, were coming in. The whole is expected 

Washington's numbers are greatly increased, but we 
do not know them exactly. I imagine he must have 
from 30 to 35,000 by this time. The enemy the other 
day ordered two of their men-of-war to hoist anchor 
and push by our batteries up the Hudson River. 
Both wind and tide were very fair. They passed all 
the batteries with ease, and, as far as is known, with- 
out receiving material damage ; though there was an 
incessant fire kept up on them. This experiment of 
theirs, I suppose, is a prelude to the passage of their 
whole fleet, and seems to indicate an intention of 
landing above New York. I imagine General Wash- 
ington, finding he cannot prevent their going up the 
river, will prepare to amuse them wherever they shall 

' From Randall's Life of Jeffeison, in, 582. 


go. Our army from Canada is now at Crown Point, 
but still one half down with the smallpox. You ask 
about Arnold's behavior at the Cedars. It was this. 
The scoundrel, Major Butterfield, having surrendered 
three hundred and ninety men, in a fort with twenty 
or thirty days' provision, and ammunition enough, to 
about forty regulars, one hundred Canadians, and five 
hundred Indians, before he had lost a single man — 
and Maj. Sherburne, who was coming to the relief of 
the fort with one hundred men, having, after bravely 
engaging the enemy an hour and forty minutes, kill- 
ing twenty of them and losing twelve of his own, been 
surrounded by them, and taken prisoners also — Gen. 
Arnold appeared on the opposite side of the river and 
prepared to attack them. His numbers I know not, 
but believe they were about equal to the enemy. 
Capt. Foster, commander of the king's troops, sent 
over a flag to him, proposing an exchange of prisoners 
for as many of the king's in our possession, and, more- 
over, informed Arnold that if he should attack, the 
Indians would put every man of the prisoners to death. 
Arnold refused, called a council of war, and, it being 
now in the night, it was determined to attack next 
morning. A second flag came over ; he again refused, 
though in an excruciating situation, as he saw the 
enemy were in earnest about killing the prisoners. 
His men, too, began to be importunate for the recovery 
of their fellow-soldiers. A third flag came, the men 
grew more clamorous and Arnold, now almost raving 
with rage and compassion, was obliged to consent to 
the exchange and six days suspension of hostilities, 
Foster declaring he had not boats to deliver them in 


less time. However, he did deliver them so much 
sooner as that before the six days were expired, him- 
self and party had tied out of all reach. Arnold then 
retired to Montreal. You have long before this 
heard of Gen. Thompson's defeat. The truth of that 
matter has never appeared till lately. You will see it 
in the public papers. No men on earth ever behaved 
better than ours did. The enemy behaved dastardly. 
Col. Allen (who was in the engagement) assured me 
this day, that such was the situation of our men, half 
way up to the thighs in mud for several hours, that 
five hundred men of spirit must have taken the whole ; 
yet the enemy were repulsed several times, and our 
people had time to extricate themselves and come off. 
It is believed the enemy suffered considerably. The 
above account of Arnold's affair you may rely on, as 
I was one of a committee appointed to inquire into the 
whole of that matter, and have it from those who were 
in the whole transaction, and were taken prisoners. 
My sincere affections to Mrs. Eppes, and adieu. 


Philada, July 15, 1776. 

Sir, — The honble the convention of Virga attend- 
ing to the inconveniencies which may arise from an 
unsettled jurisdn in the neighborhood of fort pitt, 
have instructed us to propose to your honorable house 
to agree on some temporary boundary which may 

1 This is copied from a rough draft, which has no address, but the following 
note from the Minutes of the Convention, as printed in the Philadelphia Even- 


serve for preservation of the peace in that territory 
until an amicable and final determination may be had 
before arbiters mutually chosen. Such temporary 
settlement will from its nature do predjudice to neither 
party when at any future day a complete informn of 
facts shall enable them to submit the doubt to a just 
& final decision. We can assure you that the colony 
of Virga does not entertain a wish that one inch should 
be added to theirs from the territory of a sister colony 
& we have a perfect confidence that the same just 
sentiments prevails in your house. Parties thus dis- 
posed can scarcely meet with difficulty in adjusting 
either a temporary or a final settlement. The decision, 
whatever it be, will not annihilate the lands. They 
will remain to be occupied by Americans & whether 
these be counted in the numbers of this or that of the 
United States will be thought a matter of little 
moment. We shall be ready to confer on this sub- 
ject with any gentleman you may please to appoint 
for that purpose & am Sir, with every sentiment of 


[July, 1776.] 
If the Monongahela is the line it will throw 300 Virginia fami- 
lies into Pennsylva. Most of these live below the Yohiogany 
& Monongahela. Not one thirdof that number of Pennsylvanians 
would be thrown on the Virginia side. 

ing Postol August 6, 1776, shows to whom it was written : " A letter was read 
from the Delegates of the state of Virginia, now in Congress, proposing * a 
temporary line ' ; the same being considered, it was ordered ' that further 
consideration thereof be deferred.' " Nor does the proposition ever seem to 
have been voted upon. 

VOL. II. — s 



If the Laurel hill is the boundary it will place on the Virginia 
side all the Virginia settlers, & about 200 families of Pennsylvania 

A middle line is thought to be just. Braddock's old road crosses 
the Yohiogany in the Allegany mountain. Then turns along by 
the head of the Redstone on the West side of the Yohiogany & 
crosses the Laurel hill about 6 miles from Stewart's (or Hart's) 
crossing, then crosses the river at Stewart's crossing, Jacob's creek 
4 m above mouth, Swiglie' 5 m above mouth, then goes down to the 
Monongahela about 2 m below the mouth of Yohiogany then 
recrosses it within a mile & there stopped. A line then run from 
the mouth of the Turtle cr. to the mouth of the first creek that 
empties into the Allegany above Croghans. 

This would give tolerable satisfaction to Virginia, would 
throw about 150 Pennsylvas into Virga & about 20 or 30 Vir- 
ginians into Pennsylvana. The 150 Pennsylvs live in such 
manner dispersed on the Yohiogany and Monongahela that no 
line will throw them into Pennsylva. 

If Braddock's road cannot be established, the Laurel hill & 
Yohiogany might do without great uneasiness, &: so from the 
mouth of the Turtle as before. 



[Phila., July 16, 1776.] 

We were informed a few weeks ago that 5000 lb. 
of lead imported by our colony were landed at 
Fredsbgh. As it appeared very unlikely it should be 
wanting in Virga, and the flying camp forming in the 
Jerseys, in the face of a powerful enemy, are likely 
to be in distress for this article, we thought we should 
be wanting to the public cause, which includes that 

' Sewickly Creek. 

* This and the following letter, printed from rough drafts in Jefferson's hand- 
writing, were evidently intended to be signed by the whole Virginia delegation. 


of our own country, had we hesitated to desire it to be 
brought here. Had the wants of the camp admitted 
the delay of an application to you we should most 
certainly have waited an order from you, but their 
distress is instantaneous. Even this supply is insuffi- 
cient. The army in Canada, & the army in N. York 
will want much lead & there seems to be no certain 
source of supply unless the mine in Virga can be 
rendered such. We are therefore by direction of 
Congress to beg further you will be pleased to send 
them what lead can be spared from Wmburgh, and 
moreover order 15 or 20 tons to be brought here 
immediately from the mine. 

We take the liberty of recommending the lead mines 
to you as an object of vast importance. We think it 
impossible they can be worked to too great an extent. 
Considered as perhaps the sole means of supporting 
the American cause, they are inestimable. As an 
article of commerce to our colony, too, they will be 
valuable ; & even the waggonage, if done either by 
the colony or individuals belonging to it, will carry 
to it no trifling sum of money. We enclose you a 
resoln of Congress of the subjects of forts & 
garrisons on the Ohio. 

Several vacancies having happened in our battalions, 
we are unable to have them filled for want of a list of 
the officers stating their seniority. We must beg the 
favor of you to furnish us with one. We received 
from Colo. R. H. Lee a resolution of Convention rec- 
ommending us to endeavor that the promotions of the 
officers be according to seniority without regard to 


regiments or companies. In one instance indeed the 
Congress reserved to themselves a right of departing 
from seniority ; that is where a person either out of 
the Hne of command, or in an inferior part of it, has 
displayed eminent talents. Most of the general 
ofificers have been promoted in this way. Without 
this reservation the whole continent must have been 
supplied with general officers from the Eastern col- 
onies, where a large army was formed & ofificered 
before any other colony had occasion to raise troops 
at all, & a number of experienced, able & valua- 
ble officers must have been lost to the public merely 
from the locality of their situation. 

The resolution of our Convention on the subject of 
salt we shall lay before Congress. The Convention 
of Pennsylva did not proceed to business yesterday 
for want of a quorum. As soon as they do we shall 
lay before them the proposition from our convention 
on the differences at fort pitt, & communicate to 
you the result. 

We are your Excys. 


Philadelphia, July 16, 1776. 

We were informed a few weeks ago that 5000 lb. 
of lead imported on acct. of our colony were land- 
ed at Fredsbgh. There appears scarcely a possibility 
it should be wanting in Virga., more especially 
when we consider the supplies which may be expected 
from the mines of that colony. The flying camp now 


forming in the Jerseys & which will be immediately 
in the face of a powerful enemy is likely to be in 
great want of that article. Did their wants admit of 
delay of an application to the governor we should 
have applied to him & have not a doubt he would 
order it hither. But circumstances are too pressing, 
& we are assured we should incur the censures of 
our country were we to permit the public cause to 
suffer essentially while the means of preventing it 
(tho not under our immediate charge) are within 
our reach. We therefore take the liberty of desiring 
you to stop so many of the powder waggons now on 
their way to Wmsburgh as may be necessary & re- 
turn them immediately with this lead, & whatever 
more you can collect sending the powder on by other 
waggons. But should the lead have been sent to 
Wmsburgh the waggons may then proceed on their 
Journey & the Govr. to whom we have written will 
take care of the matter.' 


Philadelphia, July 20, 1776. 

Dear Page, — On the receipt of your letter we 
enquired into the probability of getting your seal 
done here. We find a drawer and an engraver here 
both of whom we have reason to believe are excellent 
in their way. They did great seals for Jamaica and 
Barbadoes both of which are said to have been well 

' Cf. yournah of Congress, 14 July, 1776. 

• From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, XX, 69. 


done, and a seal for the Philosophical society here 
which we are told is excellent. But they are expen- 
sive, and will require two months to complete it. 
The drawing the figures for the engraver will cost 
about 50 dollars, and the engraving will be still more. 
Nevertheless as it would be long before we could 
consult you and receive an answer, as we think you 
have no such hands, and the expence is never to be 
iucurred a second time we shall order it to be done. 
I like the device of the first side of the seal much. 
The second I think is too much crowded, nor is the 
design so striking. But for god's sake what is the 
" Deus nobis haec otia facit " ? It puzzles every body 
here ; if my country really enjoys that otium, it is 
singular, as every other colony seems to be hard 
struggling. I think it was agreed on before Dun- 
more's flight from Gwyn's island so that it can hardly 
be referred to. the temporary holiday that has given 
you. This device is too senigmatical, since it puzzles 
now, it will be absolutely insoluble fifty years hence. 

I would not advise that the French gentlemen 
should come here. We have so many of that country, 
and have been so much imposed on, that the Con- 
gress begins to be sore on that head. Besides there 
is no prospect of raising horse this way. But if you 
approve of the Chevalier de St. Aubin, why not ap- 
point him yourselves, as your troops of horse are 
Colonial not Continental ? 

The 8th battalion will no doubt be taken into 
Continental pay from the date you mention. So also 
will be the two written for lately to come to the 


Jersies. The 7th should have been moved in Con- 
gress long e'er now, but the muster roll sent us by 
Mr. Yates was so miserably defective that it would 
not have been received, and would have exposed him. 
We therefore desired him to send one more full, still 
giving it the same date, and I enclosed him a proper 
form. If he is diligent we may receive it by next post. 

The answer to your public letter we have addressed 
to the governor. 

There is nothing new here. Washington's and 
Mercer's camps recruit with amazing slowness. Had 
they been reinforced more readily something might 
have been attempted on Staten Island. The enemy 
there are not more than 8, or 10,000 strong. Ld. 
Howe has reed, none of his fleet, unless some High- 
landers (about 8, or 10 vessels) were of it. Our 
army at Tyonderoga is getting out of the small pox. 
We have about i 50 carpenters I suppose got there 
by now. I hope they will out-build the enemy, so as 
to keep our force on the lake superior to theirs. 
There is a mystery in the dereliction of Crown-point. 
The general officers were unanimous in preferring 
Tyonderoga, and the Field ofificers against it. The 
latter have assigned reasons in their remonstrance 
which appear unanswerable, yet every one acquainted 
with the ground pronounce the measure right without 
answering these reasons. 

Having declined serving here the next year, I shall 
be with you at the first session of our assembly. I 
purpose to leave this place the 1 ith of August, having 
so advised Mrs. Jefferson by last post, and every 


letter brings me such an account of the state of her 
health, that it is with great pain I can stay here till 
then. But Braxton purposing to leave us the day- 
after tomorrow, the colony would be unrepresented 
were I to go, before the iith. I hope to see Col. 
Lee and Mr. Wythe here. Tho' the stay of the latter 
will I hope be short, as he must not be spared from 
the important department of the law. Adieu, adieu. 


Philadelphia, July 23, 1776. 

Dear Sir, — We have nothing new here now but 
from the southward. The successes there I hope 
will prove valuable here, by giving new spirit to our 
people. The ill successes in Canada had depressed 
the minds of many ; when we shall hear the last of 
them I know not ; everybody had supposed Crown 
Point would be a certain stand for them, but they 
have retreated from that to Ticonderoga, against 
everything which in my eye wears the shape of 
reason. When I wrote you last, we were deceived 
in General Washington's numbers. By a return 
which came to hand a day or two after, he then had 
but 15,000 effective men. His reinforcements have 
come in pretty well since. The flying camp in the 
Jerseys under General Mercer begins to form, but 
not as fast as exigencies require. The Congress 
have, therefore, been obliged to send for two of our 
battallions from Virginia. I hope that country is 

' From Randall's Life of Jefferson, iii. 582. 


perfectly safe now ; and if it is, it seems hardly right 
that she should not contribute a man to an army of 
40,000 and an army too on which was to depend the 
decision of all our riorhts. Lord Howe's fleet has 
not yet arrived. The first division sailed five days 
before he did, but report says it was scattered by a 
storm. This seems probable, as Lord Howe had a 
long passage. The other two divisions were not 
sailed when he came away. I do not expect his 
army will be here and fit for action till the middle or 
last of August ; in the meantime, if Mercer's camp 
could be formed with the expedition it merits, it 
might be possible to attack the present force from 
the Jersey side of Staten Island, and get rid of that 
beforehand ; the militia go in freely, considering they 
leave their harvest to rot in the field. 

I have received no letter this week, which lays me 
under great anxiety. I shall leave this place about 
the iith of next month. Give my love to Mrs. 
Eppes, and tell her that when both you and Patty 
fail to write me, I think I shall not be unreasonable 
in insisting she shall. 


Philadelphia, Aug. 5, 1776. 

Dear Page, — I am sorry to hear that the Indians 
have commenced war, but greatly pleased you have 
been so decisive on that head. Nothing will reduce 
those wretches so soon as pushing the war into the 

' From a copy courteously furnished by Mr. Cassius F. Lee, of Alexandria, Va. 

74 THE WRITINGS OF [i??^ , 

heart of their country. But I would not stop there. 
I would never cease pursuing them while one of 
them remained on this side the Mississippi. So un- 
provoked an attack & so treacherous a one should 
never be foreiven while one of them remains near 
enough to do us injury. The Congress having had 
reason to suspect the Six nations intended war, 
instructed their commissioners to declare to them 
peremptorily that if they chose to go to war with us, 
they should be at liberty to remove their families out 
of our settlements, but to remember that they should 
not only never more return to their dwellings on any 
terms but that we would never cease pursuing them 
with war while one remained on the face of the 
earth ; & moreover, to avoid equivocation, to let 
them know they must recall their young men from 
Canada, or we should consider them as acting against 
us nationally. This decisive declaration produced 
an equally decisive act on their part ; they have 
recalled their young men, & are stirring themselves 
with anxiety to keep their people quiet, so that the 
storm we apprehended to be brewing there it is 
hoped is blown over. Colo. Lee being unable to 
attend here till the 20th inst I am under the painful 
necessity of putting off my departure, notwithstand- 
ing the unfavorable situation of Mrs Jefferson's 
health. We have had hopes till to-day of receiving 
an authentication of the next year's delegation, but 
are disappointed. I know not who should have sent 
it, the Governor, or President of Convention : but 
certainly somebody should have done it. What will 
be the consequence I know not. We cannot be ad- 


mitted to take our seat on any precedent or the spirit 
of any precedent yet set ! According to the stand- 
ing rules not only an authentic copy will be required, 
but it must be entered in the journals verbatim that 
it may there appear we have right to sit. This seems 
the more necessary as the quorum is then to be 
reduced. Some of the newspapers indeed mention 
that on such a day such & such gentlemen were 
appointed to serve for the next year, but could news- 
paper evidence be received. They could not furnish 
the form of the appointment, not yet that quorum 
is to be admitted. 

Ld. Howe is recruiting fast. Forty odd ships 
arrived the other day, & others at other times. It is 
questionable whether our recruits come in so speed- 
ily as his. Several valuable West Indian men have 
been taken & brought in lately, & the spirit of pri- 
vateering is gaining ground fast. No news from Ti- 
conderoga. I enclose you (to amuse your curiosity) 
the form of the prayer substituted in the room of the 
prayer for the King by Mr. Duche, chaplain to the 
Congress. I think by making it so general as to 
take in Conventions, assemblies, &c., it might be 
used instead of that for the parliament. Adieu. 


Philadelphia, Aug. 9th, 1776. 

Dear Sir, — As Col. Harrison was about to have 
some things packed, I set out upon the execution of 
your glass commission, and was surprised to fmd that 

' From Randall's Life of Jefferson, in, 584. 


the whole glass stores of the city could not make out 
anything like what you desired. I therefore did 
what I thought would be best, imagining you wanted 
the number you mentioned at any event, and that 
not being able to get them of that form, you would 
take them of any other. I therefore got 4 pint cans, 
los; 2 quart do. 8s ; and six half-pint tumblers, 6s., 
all of double flint. So that there still remains in my 
hands £\ i6s., Pennsylva currcy. 

Your teckle is not yet come. It seems the man 
who had promised to sell it to the gentleman I em- 
ployed to get it, now raises some difificulties either to 
get off others which he calls the set, or to enhance 
the price. However, the gentleman still expects it, 
and I am after him every day for it. Our galleys at 
New York have had a smart engagement with the 
men-of-war which went up the river ; it is believed 
the enemy suffered a good deal. The galleys are 
much injured, though we lost but two men. The 
commander writes us word he retired, that he might 
go and give them another drubbing, which in plain 
English meant, I suppose, that he was obliged to 
retire. Gen. Washington commends the behavior of 
the men much. They lay pretty close to the enemy, 
and two of the galleys were exposed to the broadside 
of their ships almost the whole time. The damage 
done them proves they were in a warm situation. 
Madison (of the college) and one Johnson, of 
Augusta, were coming passengers in the New York 
Packet ; they were attacked by one of our armed 
vessels, and nothing but the intervention of night 


prevented the packet being taken. She is arrived at 
New York, and they permitted to come. In a letter 
by them, we have intelligence that the French minis- 
try is changed, the pacific men turned out, and those 
who are for war, with the Duke de Choiseul at their 
head, are taken in. We have also the king's speech 
on the prorogation of parliament, declaring he will 
see it out with us to the bitter end. 

The South Carolina army with Clinton Sr., arrived 
at Staten Island last week, one of their transports, 
with 5 companies of Highlanders, having first fallen 
into General Lee's hands. They now make Lord 
Howe 12,000 strong. With this force he is prepar- 
ing to attack. He is embarking his cannon ; has 
launched 8 galleys, and formed his men-of-war into 
line of battle. From these circumstances, it is be- 
lieved the attack of New York will be within three 
or four days. They expect with the utmost con- 
fidence to carry it, and they consider our army but 
as a rude undisciplined rabble. I hope they will find 
it a Bunker's Hill rabble. Notwithstanding these 
appearances of attack, there are some who believe, 
and with appearance of reason, that these measures 
are taken by the enemy to secure themselves and not 
to attack us. A little time will shew. General 
Arnold (a fine sailor) has undertaken to command 
our fleet on the lakes. The enemy are fortifying 
Oswego, and I believe our army there, when recov- 
ered from their sickness, will find they have lost a 
good campaign, though they have had no battle of 


My love to Mrs. Eppes. I hope my letter by last 
post got there time enough to stay Patty with her 
a while longer. Adieu. 


Philadelphia. Aug 13. 1776. 

Dear Sir, — Your's of Aug. 3. came to hand yester- 
day ; having had no moment to spare since, I am 
obliged to set down to answer it at a Committee 
table while the Committee is collecting. My 
thoughts therefore on the subject you propose will 
be merely extempore. The opinion that our lands 
were allodial possessions is one which I have very 
long held, and had in my eye during a pretty consid- 
erable part of my law reading which I found always 
strengthened it. It was mentioned in a very hasty 
production, intended to have been put under a course 
of severe correction, but produced afterwards to the 
world in a way with which you are acquainted. This 
opinion I have thought & still think to prove if ever 
I should have time to look into books again. But 
this is only meant with respect to the English law 
as transplanted here. How far our acts of assembly 
or acceptance of grants may have converted lands 
which were allodial into feuds I have never consid- 
ered. This matter is now become a mere speculative 

' From a copy courteously furnished by Dr. J. S. H. Fogg, of Boston. It 
was purchased by him in the papers of John Taylor of Caroline, but was 
probably written to Edmund Pendleton, whose papers passed into Taylor's 


point ; & we have it in our power to make it what it 
ought to be for the public good. 

It maybe considered in the two points of view ist. 
as bringing a revenue into the public treasury. 2d. 
as a tenure. I have only time to suggest hints on 
each of these heads, i. Is it consistent with good 
policy or free government to establish a perpetual 
revenue ? is it not against the practice of our wise 
British ancestors ? have not the instances in which 
we have departed from this in Virginia been con- 
stantly condemned by the universal voice of our 
country ? is it safe to make the governing power 
when once seated in office, independent of it's 
revenue ? should we not have in contemplation & 
prepare for an event (however deprecated) which 
may happen in the possibility of things ; I mean a re- 
acknowledgment of the British tyrant as our king, 
& previously strip him of every prejudicial pos- 
session ? Remember how universally the people run 
into the idea of recalling Charles the 2d after living 
many years under a republican government. — As 
to the second was not the separation of the property 
from the perpetual use of lands a mere fiction ? Is 
not it's history well known, & the purposes for which 
it was introduced, to wit, the establishment of a 
military system of defence ? 

Was it not afterwards made an engine of immense 
oppression ? Is it wanting with us for the purpose of 
military defence ? May not it's other legal effects 
(such of them at least as are valuable) be performed 
in other more simple ways ? Has it not been the 


practice of all other nations to hold their lands as 
their personal estate in absolute dominion ? Are we 
not the better for what we have hitherto abolished of 
the feudal system ? Has not every restitution of the 
antient Saxon laws had happy effects ? Is it not bet- 
ter now that we return at once into that happy system 
of our ancestors, the wisest & most perfect ever yet 
devised by the wit of man, as it stood before the 8th 

The idea of Congress selling out unlocated lands 
has been sometimes dropped, but we have alwais met 
the hint with such determined opposition that I 
believe it will never be proposed. — I am against sell- 
ing the lands at all. The people who will migrate to 
the Westward whether they form part of the old, or 
of a new colony will be subject to their proportion of 
the Continental debt then unpaid. They ought not to 
be subject to more. They will be a people little able 
to pay taxes. There is no equity in fixing upon them 
the whole burthen of this war, or any other propor- 
tion than we bear ourselves. By selling the lands to 
them, you will disgust them, and cause an avulsion of 
them from the common union. They will settle the 
lands in spite of everybody. — I am at the same time 
clear that they should be appropriated in small quanti- 
ties. It is said that wealthy foreigners will come in 
great numbers, & they ought to pay for the liberty 
we shall have provided for them. True, but make 
them pay in settlers. A foreigner who brings a set- 
tler for every 100, or 200 acres of land to be granted 
him pays a better price than if he had put into the 


public treasury 5/ or 5^. That settler will be worth 
to the public 20 times as much every year, as on our 
old plan he would have paid in one paiment. I 
have thrown these loose thoughts together only in 
obedience to your letter, there is not an atom of them 
which would not have occurred to you on a moment's 
contemplation of the subject. Charge yourself there- 
fore with the trouble of reading two pages of such 
undigested stuff. 

By Saturday's post the General wrote us that Ld. 
Howe had got (I think 100) flat bottomed boats 
alongside, & 30 of them were then loaded with men ; 
by which it was concluded he was preparing to attack, 
yet this is Tuesday & we hear nothing further. The 
General has by his last return, 17000 some odd men, 
of whom near 4000 are sick & near 3000 at out posts 
in Long Island &c. So you may say he has but 
1 0000 effective men to defend the works of New York. 
His works however are good & his men in spirits, 
which I hope will be equal to an addition of many 
thousands. He had called for 2000 men from the 
flying camp which were then embarking to him & 
would certainly be with him in time even if the attack 
was immediate. The enemy have (since Clinton & 
his army joined them) 15.000 men of whom not many 
are sick. Every influence of Congress has been ex- 
erted in vain to double the General's force. It was 
impossible to prevail on the people to leave their har- 
vest. That is now in, & great numbers are in motion, 
but they have no chance to be there in time. Should 
however any disaster befall us at New York they will 


form a great army on the spot to stop the progress of 
the enemy. I think there cannot be less than 6 or 
8000 men in this city & between it & the flying camp. 
Our council complain of our calling away two of the 
Virginia battalions. But is this reasonable. They 
have no British enemy, & if human reason is of any 
use to conjecture future events, they will not have 
one. Their Indian enemy is not to be opposed by 
their reeular battalions. Other colonies of not more 
than half their military strength have 20 battalions 
in the field. Think of these things & endeavor to 
reconcile them not only to this, but to yield greater 
assistance to the common cause if wanted. I wish 
every battalion we have was now in New York. — We 
yesterday received dispatches from the Commission- 
ers at Fort Pitt. I have not read them, but a gen- 
tleman who has, tells me they are favorable. The 
Shawanese & Delewares are disposed to peace. I 
believe it, for this reason. We had by different 
advices information from the Shawanese that they 
should strike us, that this was against their will, but 
that they must do what the Senecas bid them. At 
that time we knew the Senecas meditated war. We 
directed a declaration to be made to the six nations 
in general that if they did not take the most decisive 
measures for the preservation of neutrality we would 
never cease waofinof war with them while one was to 
be found on the face of the earth. They immediately 
changed their conduct and I doubt not have given 
corresponding information to the Shawanese and 


I hope the Cherokees will now be driven beyond 
the Missisipi & that this in future will be declared to 
the Indians the invariable consequence of their begin- 
nine a war. Our contest with Britain is too serious 
and too great to permit any possibility of avocation 
from the Indians. This then is the season for driving 
them off, & our Southern colonies are happily rid of 
every other enemy & may exert their whole force in 
that quarter. 

I hope to leave this place some time this month. 
I am Dear Sir, Your affectionate friend 

P. S. Mr. Madison of the college & Mr. Johnson 
of Fredsb'gh are arrived in New York. They say 
nothing material had happened in England. The 
French ministry was changed. 


Philadelphia, Aug. 20, 1776. 

Dear Page, — We have been in hourly expectation 
of the great decision at New York, but it has not yet 
happened. About three nights ago an attempt was 
made to burn the two ships which had gone up the 
river. One of the two fire-rafts prepared for that 
purpose grappled the Phenix ten minutes, but was 
cleared away at last. A tender however was burnt. 
The two ships came down on Sunday evening and 
passed all our batteries again with impunity. Ld 
Dunmore is at Staten isld. His sick he sent to 

' From the original in the possession of the American Antiquarian Society 
of Worcester. 


Halifx, his effective men he carried to Staten isld. & 
the blacks he shipped off to the West Indies. Two 
gentlemen who had been taken prisoners by the 
enemy have made their escape. They say they are 
now 20,000 & that another division of 5,000 foreign- 
ers is still expected. They think Ld Howe will not 
attack these 10 days, but that he does not wait for 
his last division, being confident of victory without. 
One of these informants was captain of a continental 
vessel oroinor for ammunition. The mate & crew rose 
& took the vessel. They fell in with the division of 
the Hessians which came with the Hessian general 
& were brouorht to. The oreneral learninof from the 
dethroned captain what had happened, immediately 
threw the piratical mate into irons, & had the captain 
to dine with him every day till they got to Halifx 
where he delivered him, vessel &c. over to the 
Enorlish. — A g-entleman who lived some time in this 
city, but since last winter has become a resident of 
St. Eustatia writes that by a Dutch ship from Am- 
sterdam they have advice that the states of Holland 
had refused to renew the prohibition on the exporta- 
tion of powder to the colonies, or to cede to the 
English the Scotch brigade in their service, or to 
furnish them with some men of war asked of them by 
the British court. This refusal so piqued the ministry 
that they had been enduced to take several Dutch 
ships, amongst which he said were two which sailed 
from that island & were carried to London, another 
to St. Kitt's. In consequence of this the Dutch have 
armed 40 ships of war & ordered 60 more to be built 


& are raising 20,000 land forces. The French governor 
in chief of their W. Indies has not only refused to 
permit a capt of a man of war to make prize of our 
vessels in their ports but forbidden them to come 
within gun shot of the ports. The enemy's men of war 
being withdrawn from our whole coast to N. York 
gives us now fine opportunities of getting in powder. 
We see the effect here already. 

Two Canadians who had been captains in our 
Canadian regiment & who General Gates writes us 
are known in the army to be worthy of good credit 
made their escape from St. John's, & came over to 
our army from Tyconderoga ; & give the following 
intelligence. The enemy did not fortify any place 
we abandoned. They had 2000 men at Isle aux noix 
under Genl. Fraser, 2000 at St. John's under Carleton 
& some at Montreal. 250 only had been left at 
Quebec. It was reported that 4000 English troops 
which were to have been a part of that army had 
perished at sea which gave great uneasiness. The 
fleet brot over timber &c for 50 boats which they 
attempted to transport by land from the mouth of 
Sorel to St. John's, but could not for want of car- 
riages which had been destroyed. Carleton, therefore, 
employed Canadians to build batteaux at St. John's. 
He has rendered himself very odious to the Canadians 
by levying contributions on them in general & con- 
fiscating the estates of all those who followed our 
army or who abscond. Great numbers of the 
Germans desert daily & are anxiously concealed by 
the inhabitants. 70 Brunswickers disappeared in one 


day. Their officers are so much afraid of bush- 
fighting & ambushes that they will not head any 
parties to pursue the runaways. The men have the 
same fears, which prevents them from deserting in so 
great numbers as is supposed they will when once our 
fleet shall appear cruising on the lake to receive & 
protect them. Between the 2 2d & 24th July Carleton 
& the other generals abandoned all their posts on this 
side Sorel except St. John's with as great precipita- 
tion as our poor sick army had done, carrying with 
them their artillery & provisions. This was occasioned 
by the arrival and mysterious manoeuvres of a fieet 
at Quebec supposed French, hoisting different colours 
& firing at Tenders sent from the town to enquire 
who they were. 200 men were left at Isle aux noix 
to send them intelligence of our operations, who they 
say will go down the river if we return into Canada. 
For this event the Canadians are offering up prayers 
at the shrines of all their saints. Carleton some time 
ago hearing that we were returning with a consider- 
able reinforcement was so terrified that he would have 
retired immediately had not some of his spies come 
in & informed him of the deplorable situation to which 
the small pox had reduced our army. — They are 
recovering health & spirits. Genl. Gates writes that 
he had accounts of the roads being crowded with 
militia coming to his assistance. 600 from New 
Hampshire came in while he was writing his letter, 
being the first. His fleet had sailed from Tycon- 
deroga to Crown point. Their number and force as 







I Schooner 

12, 4 Ibrs. 



I Sloop 

12, 4 " 



1 Schooner 

4, 4 " 4, 2 Ibrs. 



I do 

2, 4 " 6, 2 " 



2 Gallies, each 

I, 12 " 2, 9 " 



2 do 

3, 9 " 



2 do not quite rigged. 

Eight more gallies would be ready to join them 
in a fortnight when they would proceed down the 
Cape. General Arnold (who is said to be a good 
sailor) had undertaken the command. We have 200 
fine ship carpenters (mostly sent from here) at work. 
I hope a fleet will soon be exhibited on that lake 
such as it never bore. The Indians have absolutely 
refused Carleton in Canada & Butler at Niagara 
to have any thing to do in this quarrel, & applaud 
in the highest terms our wisdom & candour for 
not requiring them to meddle. Some of the most 
sensible speeches I ever saw of theirs are on this 
head, not to be spoken to us, but behind our backs 
in the councils of our enemies. From very good 
intelligence the Indians of the middle department 
will be quiet. That treaty is put off till October. 
Were it not that it interferes with our Assembly 
I would go to it, as I think something important 
might be done there, which could not be so well 
planned as by going to the spot & seeing its geogra- 
phy. We have great fear that the sending an agent 
from Virginia to enlist Indians will have ill conse- 
quences. It breaks in upon the plan pursued here 
& destroys that uniformity & consistency of counsels 


which the Indians have noticed & approved in their 
speeches. Besides they are a useless, expensive, un- 
governable ally. — I forgot to observe that a captain 
Mesnard of Canada had come to Genl. Gates after 
the two above mentioned & confirmed their account 
in almost every article. One of the German deserters 
travelled with him to within 20 miles of our camp, 
when he was obliged to halt through fatigue. He 
passed 3 others of them. — Baron Woedeke is dead, 
no great loss from his habit of drinking. — The infa- 
mous Bedel & Butterfield were ordered by Congress to 
be tried for their conduct. They have been tried by 
a Court martial, condemned & broke with infamy. 
We inclose to you all the Commissions mentioned in 
the last letter of the delegates, except Innis's to be 
forwarded to the Eastern shore immediately, & 
Weedon's & Marshall's who we are informed are on 
the road hither. Would to God they were in N. 
York. We wait your recommendation for the 2 
vacant majorities. Pray regard militaryment alone. 
The commissions now sent do not fix the officers 
to any particular battalion so that the command- 
ing officer will dispose of them. Cannot you 
make use of any interest with Lee or Lewis to call 
Innis over to the Western shore. He pants for 
it, & in my opinion has a right to ask it. Adieu, 

Davis with the 4000 lb of gun powder & 90 stand 
of arms for Virga got into Egg harbour. We have sent 
waggons for the powder to bring it here, & shall wait 
your further order. We were obliged to open Van 


Bibber & Harrison's letter to the Council of safety 

of Virga in order to take out the bill of lading 
without which it would not be delivered. 



Aug. 27. [1776] 
The Congress proceeding to take into further consideration the 
expediency of inviting from the service of his Brittanick majesty 
such foreigners as by the compulsive authority of their prince 
may have been engaged therein & sent hither for the purpose of 
waging war against these states, and expecting that the enlightened 
minds of the officers having command in those foreign corps will 
feel more sensibly the agency of the principles urged in our reso- 
lution of the 14th instant," principles which be derived from the 
unalterable laws of God & nature cannot be superseded by any 
human authority or engagement, and willing to tender to them 
also, as they had before done to the soldiery of their corps a 
participation of the blessings of peace, liberty, property & mild 
government, on their relinquishing the disgraceful office on which 
they have been sent hither : Resolved that they will give all 
such of the said foreign officers as shall leave the armies of his 
Britannic majy in America & chuse to become citizens of these 
states, unappropriated lands in the following quantities and pro- 
portions to them & their heirs in absolute dominion : To a colonel 
1,000 acres, to a Lt Col. 800 as. to a Major 600 as. to a Captn 400 
as. to an Ensign 200 as. to every noncommisd. officer 100 as. & to 
every other officer or person employed in the sd foreign corps & 
whose office or employment is not here specifically named, lands 

' Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams were appointed a committee on Aug. 26th 
to report on a letter of James Wilson, and this resolution, with a preamble, 
and additional resolution, was adopted the following day as the result of their 
report. This resolution is in Jefferson's handwriting, but the preamble is in 
that of John Adams. 

' A plan for encouraging the Hessians and other foreigners to quit the 
British service. 


in the like proportion to their rank or pay in the sd corps : 
& moreover that where any ofificers shall bring with them a num- 
ber of the sd foreign soldiers, this Congress, besides the lands 
before promised to the sd officers and soldiers will give to such 
officers further rewards proportionate to the numbers they shall 
bring over & suited to the nature of their wants. Provided that 
such foreign officers or soldiers shall come within over from the 
sd service before these offers be recalled, or within after a rea- 
sonable time. 


[Aug. 28, 1776] 
Resolved that tho' this Congress, during the dependance of 
these states on the British crown with unwearied supplications 
sued for peace & just redress, & tho' they still retain a sincere 
disposition to peace ; yet as his Britannic majesty by an obstinate 
perseverance in injury & a callous indifference to the sufferings 
& the complaints of these states, has driven them to the necessity 
of declaring themselves independent, this Congress bound by the 
voice of their constituents, which coincides with their own senti- 
ments, have no power to enter into conference or to receive any 
propositions on the subject of peace which do not as a prelimi- 
nary acknowledge these states to be sovereign & independant : & 
that whenever this shall have been authoritatively admitted on the 
part of Great Britain they shall at all times & with that earnestness 
which the love of peace and justice inspires, be ready to enter 
into conference or treaty for the purpose of stopping the effusion 
of so much kindred blood. 

Resolved that the reproof given by Genl Washington to Ld 
Drummond for breach of his parole, & his refusal to give him a 
pass thro' the states on so idle an errand and after a conduct so 
dishonourable, be approved by this house & let it be submitted 
to the General to take such measures as his prudence will suggest 

' These resolutions were apparently moved in the Congress on the arrival 
of Washington's letter of Aug. 26th, enclosing Lord Drummond's letter to him, 
and his answer. Cf. Ford's Writings of Washington, iv, 350, 369. 


to prevent any evil which may happen to these states by Lord 
Drummond's further continuing communication with their 

Resolved that the articles enclosed by Ld Drummond to Ld 
Howe whereby it is proposed " that it shall be ascertained by cal- 
culation what supply towards the general exigency of the state 
each separate colony shall furnish, to be increased or lessened in 
proportion to the growth or decline of such colony, & to be vested 
in the king by a perpetual grant, in consideration whereof Great 
Britain should relinquish only her claim to taxation over these 
colonies," which the sd Ld Drummond suggests " the colonies were 
disposed not many months ago to have made the basis of a recon- 
ciliation with Gr. Britain," were the unauthorized, officious & 
groundless suggestions of a person who seems totally unacquainted 
with either reasonings or the facts which have attended this great 
controversy ; since from its first origin to this day there never 
was a time when these states intimated a disposition to give away 
in perpetuum their essential right of judging whether they should 
give or withhold their money for what purposes they should make 
the gift, and what should be its continuance. 

(John Hancock.) c.c. 

WiLLIAMSBURGH, Octob. II, I776. 

Honorable Sir, — Your favor of the 30th together 
with the resolutions of Congfress of the 26th Ult came 
safe to hand. It would argue great insensibility in 
me could I receive with indifference so confidential 
an appointment from your body. My thanks are a 
poor return for the partiality they have been pleased 
to entertain for me. No cares for my own person, 

' A reply to a notification of his election as a Commissioner to France. 



nor yet for my private affairs would have induced one 
moment's hesitation to accept the charge. But cir- 
cumstances very peculiar in the situation of my family, 
such as neither permit me to leave nor to carry it, 
compel me to ask leave to decline a service so hon- 
orable & at the same time so important to the Amer- 
ican cause. The necessity under which I labor & the 
conflict I have undergone for three days, during which 
I could not determine to dismiss your messenger, will 
I hope plead my pardon with Congress, and I am sure 
there are too many of that body, to whom they may 
with better hopes confide this charge, to leave them 
under a moment's difficulty in making a new choice. 
I am, Sir, with the most sincere attachment to your 
honorable body & and the great cause they support, 
their and your most obedient humble servt. 


[Oct. 1776?] 
Sabellians. X" heretics. That there is but one person in the 
Godhead. That the ' Word ' & holy spirit are only virtues, emana- 
tions or functions of the deity. 

Sorcinians. X" heretics. That the Father is the one only god. 
That the Word is no more than an expression of y! godhead & had 
not existed from all eternity ; that Jes. Christ was god no other- 
wise than by his superiority above all creatures who were put in 
subjection to him by the father. That he was not a mediator, but 

' These are endorsed by Jefferson: " scraps early in the revolution." They 
were probably materials and notes for his speeches in the House of Delegates on 
the petitions for the disestablishment of the Episcopal church. Owing to the 
rebinding it is practically impossible to say if any order was intended. 


sent to be a pattern of conduct to men. That the punishments 
of hell are n' eternal. 

Arminians. They think with the Romish church (ag' the Cal- 
vinists) that there is an universal grace given to all men, & that 
man is always /;r^ & at liberty to receive or reject grace. That 
God creates men free, that his justice would not permit him to 
punish men for crimes they are predestinated to commit. They 
admit the presence of god, but distinguish between fore-knowing 
& predestinating. All the fathers before St. Austin were of this 
opinion. The church of Engld founded her article of predesti- 
nation on his authority. 

Arians. X° heretics. They avow there was a time when the 
Son was not, that he was created in time mutable in nature, & 
like the angels liable to sin ; they deny the three persons in the 
trinity to be of the same essence. Erasmus and Grotius were 

Apollinarians. X" heretics. They affirm there was but one 
nature in Christ, that his body as well as soul was impassive & 
immortal, & that his birth, death, & resurrection was only in 

Macedonians. X" heretics. They teach that the Holy ghost 
was a meer creature, but superior in excellence to the Angels. 
See Broughtoft, verbo ' Heretics,' an enumeration of 48. sects of 
Christians pronounced Heretics. 

Locke's system of Christianity is this : Adam was created 
happy & immortal ; but his happiness was to have been Earthly 
& Earthly immortality. By sin he lost this — so that he became 
subject to total death (like that of brutes) to the crosses & un- 
happiness of this life. At the intercession however of the son of 
god this sentence was in part remitted. A life conformable to 
the law was to restore them again to immortality. And moreover 
to them who believed \.\\qu faith was to be counted for righteous- 
ness. Not that faith without works was to save them ; St. James, 
c. 2. sais expressly the contrary ; & all make the fundamental 
pillars of X*^ to be faith & repentance. So that a reformation 
of life (included under repefitance) was essential, & defects in 
this would be made up by ihtix faith j i. e. their faith should be 
counted for righteousness. As to that part of mankind who 


never had the gospel preached to them, they are i. Jews. — 2. 
Pagans, or Gentiles. The Jews had the law of works revealed to 
them. By this therefore they were to be saved : & a lively 
faith in god's promises to send the Messiah would supply small 
defects. 2. The Gentiles. St. Pa. sais— Rom. 2. 13. ' the Gentiles 
have the law written in their hearts, i. e. the law of nature : to 
which adding a faith in God & his attributes that on their re- 
pentance he would pardon them, they also would be justified. 
This then explains the text 'there is no other name under heaven 
by which a man may be saved,' i. e. the defects in good works 
shall not be supplied by a faith in Mahomet Foe, [?] or any 
other except Christ. 

The fundamentals of X'>' as found in the gospels are i. Faith, 
2. Repentance. That faith is every [where ?] explained to be a 
belief that Jesus was the Messiah who had been promised. Re- 
pentance was to be proved sincerely by good works. The ad- 
vantages accruing to mankind from our Saviour's mission are 


1. The knolege of one god only. 

2. A clear knolege of their duty, or system of morality, de- 
livered on such authority as to give it sanction. 

3. The outward forms of religious worship wanted to be purged 
of that farcical pomp & nonsense with which they were loaded. 

4. An inducement to a pious life, by revealing clearly a future 
existence in bliss, & that it was to be the reward of the vir- 

The Epistles were written to persons already Christians. A 
person might be a X" then before they were written. Conse- 
quently the fundamentals of X'>' were to be found in the preach- 
ing of our Saviour, which is related in the gospels. These 
fundamentals are to be found in the epistles dropped here & 
there, & promiscuously mixed with other truths. But these 
other truths are not to be made fundamentals. They serve for 
edification indeed & explaining to us matters in worship & 
morality, but being written occasionally it will readily be seen 
that their explanations are adapted to the notions & customs 
of the people they were written to. But yet every sentence in 
them (tho the writers were inspired) must not be taken up 


& made a fundamental, without assent to which a man is not 
to be admitted a member of the X" church here, or to his king- 
dom hereafter. The Apostles creed was by them taken to con- 
tain all things necessary to salvation, & consequently to a 

Shaftesbury Charact. As the Antients tolerated visionaries 
& enthusiasts of all kinds so they permitted a free scope 
to philosophy as a balance. As the Pythagoreans & latter 
Platonists joined with the superstition of their times the 
Epicureans & Academicks were allowed all the use of wit 
& railery against it. Thus matters were balanced ; reason 
had play & science flourished. These contrarieties produced 
harmony. Superstition & enthusiasm thus let alone never raged 
to bloodshed, persecution &c. But now a new sort of policy, 
which considers the future lives & happiness of men rather than 
the present, has taught to distress one another, & raised an an- 
tipathy which if temporal interest could ever do now uniformity 
of opn, a hopeful project ! is looked on as the only remedy agt. 
this evil & is made the very object of govm't itself. If magistracy 
had vouchsafed to interpose thus in other sciences, we should 
have as bad logic, mathematics & philosophy as we have divinity 
in countries where the law settles orthodoxy. 

Suppose the state should take into head that there should be an 
uniformity of countenance. Men would be obliged to put an 
artificial bump or swelling here, a patch there &c. but this would 
be merely hypocritical, or if the alternative was given of wearing 
a mask, yV^ths must immediately mask. Would this add to the 
beauty of nature ? VVhy otherwise in opinions ? In the middle 
ages of X'^ opposition to the State opins was hushed. The con- 
sequence was, X'^ became loaded with all the Romish follies. 
Nothing but free argument, raillery & even ridicule will preserve 
the purity of religion. 2 Cor. i. 24. the apostles declare they had 
no dominion over the faith. 

A heretic is an impugner of fundamentals. What are funda- 
mentals ? The protestants will say those doctrines which are 
clearly & precisely delivered in the holy Scriptures. Dr. Vater- 
land would say the Trinity. But how far this character of being 
clearly delivered will suit the doctrine of the trinity I leave others 


to determine. It is nowhere expressly declared by any of the 
earliest fathers, & was never affirmed or taught by the Church 
before the Council of Nice {Chillingas Pref. § 18. 2)Z^ Iranaeus 
sais ' who are the clean ? those who go on firmly, believing in the 
Father & in the Son." The fundamental doctrine or the firmness 
of the X" faith in this early age then was to believe in the Father 
&> Son. Constantine wrote to Arius & Alexr treating the question 
** as vain foolish &: impertinent as a dispute of words without 
sense which none could explain nor any comprehend &c.' This 
line is commended by Eusebius \Vit. Constant 1. r. c. 64 &c.) and 
Socrates {Hist. Eccles. 1. i. c. 7) as excellent admirable & full 
of wisdom. 2 Middleton. 115. remarks on the story of St. Joh)i 
& [illegible] " Le saint concil (de Niece anno 630) ayant defini 
que le fils de dieu est de meme substance que son pere & 
qu'il est eternel comme lui, composa une Simbole (the Nicene 
creed) ou il explique la divinite du pere et du fils et qu'il 
finit par ces paroles ' dont le regne n'aura point de fin.' car la 
doctrine que regarde le Saint Esprit ne fut ajoutee que dans la 
seconde concile tenu contre les erreurs de Macedoniens, ou ces 
questions furent agitees." Zc«fl;raj' par Coussin. Ann. 330. The 
second council meant by Zonaras was that of Constantinople ann. 
381. D'hist. P7'im. Xty. pref. xxxviii. 2d app. to pref. 49. The 
Council of Antioch ann [ ] expressly affirms of our Saviour 
ovn ear IV 6/.iovffio5 that he was not consubstantial to the father. 
The Council of Nice affirmed the direct contrary. Dhist. Prim. 
Xty. Pref. cxxv. 

Episcopy. Gr. ETTi^HOTto?. Lat. Episcopus. Ital. Vescovo. Fr. 
Evesque. Saxon, Byscop. Bishop (overseer). The epistles of 
Paul to Timothy & Titus are relied on (together with Tradition) for 
the Apostolic institution of bishops. 

As to tradition, if we are Protestants we reject all tradition, 
& rely on the scripture alone, for that is the essence & com- 
mon principle of all the protestant churches. As to Scripture 
I. Tim. 3. 2. 'a bishop must be blameless &c. ETTiffHOTto?.' v. 8. ; 
'likewise must the deacons be grave &c. Aiaxovo^' (ministers). 
C. 5. V. 6, he calls Timothy a 'minister, Aianovo^ • ' C. 4, v. 14. 
'neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee 
by prophecy with the laying on the hands of the presbytery, 


7rp£<5ftvr£pioi}^' C. 5. ' rebuke not an elder ; Uftea/SvTepoi.' 5:17; — 
Met the elders that rule well, &c. UpsffjSvrfpoi.' 5.19 ; 'against 
an elder {IIpsG^vrspo^) receive nt an accusn.' 5.22. 'lay hands 
suddenly on no man, jf ipo'? STtiridsL.' 6. 11. He calls Timothy 
msLXioi God oivdpooTis roi) 6eo-L\ 2. Tim. i. 6. ' stir up the gift of 
god, which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands ' eTiideaeoo'^ 
TGov ;i'fz/)C!7v' but ante c. 4. v. 14, he said it was by the hands of 
the presbytery. This imposition of hands then was some ceremony 
or custom frequently repeated, & certainly is a good proof that 
Timothy was ordained by the elders (& consequently that they 
might ordain) as that it was by Paul. i. 11. Paul calls himself 'a 
preacher,' 'an apostle,' 'a teacher.' ^ mjpvB, nai anoGro\o<i 
xai SidaffxaXo?.' Here he designates himself by several syno- 
nims as he had before done Timothy. Does this prove that 
every synonim authorizes a different order of ecclesiastics. 4. 5. 
' do the work of an Evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry ' 
ipyov 7toii]Gov avayysXwrov, rt]v Sianoviav Gov 7tXr^poq)0- 
psiGov.' Timothy then is called ' STriGHOTto?, dianovoi, evay- 
y£\iGro<;.' avBpcjTioG Seov.' 4.1 1. He tells Tim. to bring Mark 
with him, for ' he is profitable to me for the ministry.' diaKoviar. 
Epist. to Titus. I. I, he calls himself 'a servant of god' SovXoG 
d£OV.' 1.5. 'for this cause left I thee in Crete that thou shouldst 
set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain {jtaraGTr/Gr)?) 
elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.' If any be blame- 
less, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not 
accused of riot or unruly, for a bishop must be blameless as the 
steward of god &c. Here then it appears that as the elders 
appointed the bishops, so the bishops appointed the elders, i. e , 
they are synonims. Again when telling Titus to appoint elders in 
every city he tells him what kind of men they must be, for said he 
a bishop must be &c., so that in the same sentence he calls elders 
bishops. 3.10 'a man that is an heretic after the first & second 
admonition, reject, ' aipaTiuov.' James 5. 14. 'is any sick among 
you ? Let him call for the elders {TrpsG/Svrspo?) of the church, 
& let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name 
of the lord.' 

Another plea for Episcopal government in Religion in England 
is it's similarity to the political governmt by a king. No bisho]\ 


no king. This then with us is a plea for government by a pres- 
bytery which resembles republican government. 

The clergy have ever seen this. The bishops were alwais 
mere tools of the crown. 

The Presbyterian spirit is known to be so congenial with 
friendly liberty, that the patriots after the restoration finding that 
the humour of people was running too strongly to exalt the pre- 
rogative of the crown promoted the dissenting interest as a check 
and balance, &: thus was produced the Toleration Act. 

St. Peter gave the title of clergy to all god's people till Pope 
Higinus & y! succeeding prelates took it from them & appropri- 
ated it to priests only, i Milt. 230. 

Origen, being yet a layman, expounded the scripchures pub- 
lickly & was therein defended by Alexander of Jerusalem & 
Theodotn of Coesarea producing in his behalf divers examples 
that the privilege of teaching was antiently permitted to laymen. 
The first Nicene council called in the assistance of many learned 
lay brethren, ib. 230. 

Bishops were elected by the hands of the whole church. Igna- 
tius (the most ant' of the extant fathers) writing to the Philadel- 
phians sais ' that it belongs to them as to the church of god to 
chuse a bishop.' Camden in his description of Scotl'* sais ' that 
over all the world bps had no certain dioces till pope Dionysius 
about the year 268 did cut them out, & that the bps of Scotl"^ extd 
their function in what place soever they came, indifferently till 
temp Malcolm 3. 1070.' 

Cyprian, epist. 68. sais ' the people chiefly hath power either of 
chusing worthy or refusing unworthy bps the council of Nice con- 
trary to the African churches exorts them to chuse orthodox bps 
in the place of the dead.' i Milt. 254. 

Nicephorus Phocas the Greek emperor Ann. 1000 first enacted 
that no bps sh'^ be chozen without his will. Ignatius in his epistle 
to those of Tra [mutilated] confesseth that the presbyters are his 
fellow-sellers & fellow henchers & Cyprian in the 6. 4. 52. epst. 
calls the presbyters, ' his com-presbyters ' yet he was a bps.— A 
modern bps to be moulded into a primitive one must be elected 
by the people, undiocest, unrevenued, unlorded. i Milt. 255. From 
the dissensions among sects themselves arises necessarily a right 


of chusing & necessity of deliberating to which we will conform, 
but if we chuse for ourselves, we must allow others to chuse also, 
&: to reciprocally. This establishes religious liberty. 

Why require those things in order to eccliastical communion 
which Christ does not require in order to life eternal ? How can 
that be the church of Christ which excludes such persons from its 
communion as he will one day receive into the kingdom of heaven. 

The arms of a religious society or church are exhortations, ad- 
monitions & advice, & ultimately expulsion or excommunication. 
This last is the utmost limit of power. 

How far does the duty of toleration extend ? 

1, No church is bound by the duty of toleration to retain within 
her bosom obstinate offenders against her laws. 

2. We have no right to prejudice another in his civil enjoiments 
because he is of another church. If any man err from the 
right way, it is his own misfortune, no injury to thee ; nor 
therefore art thou to punish him in the things of this life 
because thou supposeth he will be miserable in that which is 
to come — on the contrary accdg to the spirit of the gospel, 
charity, bounty, liberality is due to him. 

Each church being free, no one can have jurisdn over another 
one, not even when the civil magistrate joins it. It neither acquires 
the right of the sword by the magistrate's coming to it, nor does 
it lose the rights of instruction or excommunicn by his going from 
it. It cannot by the accession of any new member acquire jurisdn 
over those who do not accede. He brings only himself, having 
no power to bring others. Suppose for instance two churches, one 
of Arminians another of Calvinists in Constantinople, has either 
any right over the other? Will it be said the orthodox one has ? 
Every church is to itself orthodox ; to others erroneous or heretical. 

No man complains of his neighbor for ill management of his 
affairs, for an error in sowing his land, or marrying his daughter, 
for consuming his substance in taverns, pulling down building &"; 
in all these he has his liberty : but if he do not frequent the 
church, or there conform to ceremonies, there is an immediate 

The care of every man's soul belongs to himself. But what if 
he neglect the care of it ? Well what if he neglect the care of his 

loo THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

health or estate, which more nearly relate to the state. Will the 
magistrate make a law that he shall not be poor or sick ? Laws 
provide against injury from others ; but not from ourselves. God 
himself will not save men against their wills. 

If I be marching on with my utmost vigour in that way which 
according to the sacred geography leads to Jerusalem straight, 
why am I beaten & ill used by others because my hair is not 
of the right cut ; because I have not been dresst right, bee. I 
eat flesh on the road, bee. I avoid certain by-ways which seem 
to lead into briars, bee. among several paths I take that which 
seems shortest & cleanest, bee. I avoid travellers less grave & 
keep company with others who are more sour & austere, or bee. 
I follow a guide crowned with a mitre & cloathed in white, yet 
these are the frivolous things which keep X"' at war. 

If the magistrate command me to bring my commodity to a 
publick store house I bring it because he can indemnify me if he 
erred & I thereby lose it ; but what indemnification can he 
give one for the kdom of heaven ? 

I cannot give up my guidance to the magistrates, bee. he 
knows no more of the way to heaven than I do, & is less con- 
cerned to direct me right than I am to go right. If the Jews 
had followed their Kings, among so many, what number would 
have led them to idolatry ? Consider the vicissitudes among the 
Emperors, Arians, Athana &c. or among our princes. H. 8. 
E. 6. Mary. Elizabeth. Locke's Works 2d vol. 

Why persecute for diff" in relig' opinion ? 

1. For love to the person. 

2. Because of tendency of these opns to dis[illegible]. 

1. When I see them persecute their nearest connection & ac- 
quaintance for gross vices, I shall believe it may proceed from 
love. Till they do this I appeal to their own conscences if they 
will examine, wh. y^ do nt find some other principle. 

2. Because of tendency. Why not then level persecution at 
the crimes you fear will be introduced ? Burn or hang the adul- 
terer, cheat &c. Or exclude them from ofifices. Strange should 
be so zealous against things which tend to produce immorality & 
yet so indulgent to the immorality when produced. These moral 
vices all men acknowlege to be diametrically against X. & ob- 


structive of salvation of souls, but the fantastical points for 
which we generally persecute are often very questionable ; as we 
may be assured by the very different conclusions of people. Our 
Savior chose not to propagate his religion by temporal punmts 
or civil incapacitation, if he had, it was in his almighty power. 
But he chose to extend it by it's influence on reason, there by 
shewing to others how they should proceed. 

The commonwealth is ' a Society of men constituted for pro- 
tecting their civil interests.' 

Civil interests are ' life, health, indolency of body, liberty and 
property.' That the magistrate's jurisdn extends only to civil 
rights appears from these considns. 

1. The magistrate has no power but w' y^ people gave. 

The people h'^ n' giv° h"' the care of souls bee. y^ c'^ not, y^ 
c** not, because no man h' right to abandon y*" care of his salva- 
tion to another. 

No man \\di% power to let another prescribe his faith. Faith is 
not faith with' believing. No man can conform his faith to the 
dictates of another. The life & essence of religion consists in 
the internal persuasion or belief of the mind. External forms 
of worship, when against our belief are hypocrisy & impiety. 
Rom. 14. 23. "he that doubteth is damned, if he eat, because he 
eateth not of faith : for whatsoever is not of faith, is sin ? " 

2. If it be said the magistrate may make use of arguments & 
so draw the heterodox to truth, I answer, every man has a com- 
mission to admonish, exhor', convince another of error. 

12. A church is ' a voluntary society of men, joining themselves 
together of their own accord, in order to the pubHc worshipping 
of god in such a manner as they judge acceptable to him & 
effectual to the salvation of their souls.' It is voluntary bee. no 
man is by nature bound to any church. The hope of salvation is 
the cause of his entering into it. If he find anything wrong in it, 
he should be as free to go out as he was to come in. 

13. What is the power of that church. As it is a society it 
must have some laws for it's regulation. Time & place of 
meeting. Admitting & excluding members &": Must be regu- 
lat" but as it was a spontaneous joining of members, it follows 
that it's laws extend to it's own members only, not to those of any 


other voluntary society, for then by the same rule some other 
voluntary society miglit usurp power over them. 

Christ has said ' wheresoever 2 or 3 are gather'' togeth in his 
name he will be in the midst of them.' This is his definition of 
a society. He does not make it essential that a bishop or pres- 
byter govern them. Without them it suffices for the salvation of 

Compulsion in religion is distinguished peculiarly from compul- 
sion in every other thing. I may grow rich by art I am compelled 
to follow, I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to 
take ag' my own judgment, but I cannot be saved by a worship I 
disbelieve & abhor. 

Whatsoever is lawful in the Commonwealth, or permitted to the 
subject in the ordinary way, cannot be forbidden to him for reli- 
gious uses : & whatsoever is prejudicial to the Commonwealth in 
their ordinary uses & therefore prohibited by the laws, ought not 
to be permitted to churches in their sacred rites. For instance 
it is unlawful in the ordinary course of things or in a private 
house to murder a child. It should not be permitted any sect 
then to sacrifice children : it is ordinarily lawful (or temporarily 
lawful) to kill calves or lambs. They may therefore be religiously 
sacrificed, but if the good of the state required a temporary sus- 
pension of killing lambs, as during a siege, sacrifices of them may 
then be rightfully suspended also. This is the true extent of 

Truth will do well enough if left to shift for herself. She 
seldom has received much aid from the power of great men 
to whom she is rarely known & seldom welcome. She has no 
need of force to procure entrance into the minds of men. Error 
indeed has often prevailed by the assistance of power or force. 
Truth is the proper & sufficient antagonist to error. If any- 
thing pass in a religious meeting seditiously and contrary to the 
public peace, let it be punished in the same manner & no other- 
wise than as if it had happened in a fair or market. These 
meetings ought not to be sanctuaries for faction %i flagitiousness. 

Locke denies toleration to those who entertain opns contrary 
to those moral rules necessary for the preservation of society ; as 
for instance, that faith is not to be kept with those of another 


persuasion, that Kings excommunicated forfeit their crowns, that 
dominion is founded in grace, or that obedience is due to some 
foreign prince, or who will not own & teach the duty of tolerating 
all men in matters of religion, or who deny the existence of a god 
(it was a great thing to go so far — as he himself sais of the pari, 
who framed the act of tolern but where he stopped short we may 
go on.) ' 

He sais ' neither Pagan nor Mahomedan nor Jew ought to be 
excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of 
his religion.' Shall we suffer a Pagan to deal with us and not 
suffer him to pray to his god ? Why have X"! been distinguished 
above all people who have ever lived, for persecutions ? Is it 
because it is the genius of their religion ? No, it's genius is the 
reverse. It is the refusing toleration to those of a different opn which 
has produced all the bustles and wars on account of religion. It 
was the misfortune of mankind that during the darker centuries 
the X" priests following their ambition and avarice combining 
with the magistrate to divide the spoils of the people, could 
establish the notion that schismatics might be ousted of their 
possessions & destroyed. This notion we have not yet cleared 
ourselves from. In this case no wonder the oppressed should 
rebel, & they will continue to rebel & raise disturbance until their 
civil rights are fully restored to them & all partial distinctions, 
exclusions & incapacitations removed. 


[Oct. 14, 1776.] 
A Bill to enable tenants in tail to convey their lands in fee-simple. 
Whereas the perpetuation of property in certain families by 

' " Will not his own excellent rule be sufficient here too ; to punish these as 
civil offences, e. gr. to assert that a foreign prince has power within this 
Commonwealth is a misdemeanor. The other opns may be despised. Perhaps 
the single thing & which may be required to others before toleration to them 
would be an oath that they would allow toleration to others." — T. J. 

"^ On Oct. 12, 1776, leave was granted to introduce this bill, and Jeffer- 
son, Starke, and Bullitt were named a committee to draft it. Jefferson reported 



means of gifts made to them in fee-simple is contrary to good 
policy, tends to deceive fair traders who give credit on the visible 
possession of such estates, discourages the holder thereof from 
taking care & improving the same, and sometime does injury to 
the morals of youth by rendering them independent of, and dis- 
obedient to, their parents ; and whereas the former method of 
docking such estates tail by special act of assembly formed for 
every particular case employed very much time of the legislature, 
was burthensome to the public, and also to the individual who 
made application for such acts : 
Be it therefore enacted by ' 
and it is hereby enacted by authority of the same that any person 
who now hath, or hereafter may have any estate in fee tail general or 
special in any lands or slaves in possession, or in the use or trust 
of any lands or slaves in possession, or who now is or hereafter 
may be entitled to any such estate tail in reversion or remainder 
after the determination of any estate for life or lives or of any 
lesser estate, whether such estate hath been or shall be created 
by deed, will, act of assembly, or any other ways or means shall 
have full power to pass, convey, or assure in fee-simple or for any 
lesser estate the said lands or slaves, or use in lands or slaves or 
such reversion or remainder therein, or any part or parcel there- 
of, to any person or persons whatsoever by deed or deeds of 
feoffment, gift, grant, exchange, partition, lease, release, bargain, 
and sale, covenant to stand seized to uses, deed to lead uses, or 
by his last will and testament, or by any other mode or form of 
conveiance or assurance by which such lands or slaves, or use in 
lands or slaves, or such reversion or remainder therein might have 

this draft Oct. 14th. It was considered and amended in the Committee of the 
Whole on Oct. 17th and i8th, was passed by the lower house on Oct. 23d, and con- 
curred in by the Senate, Nov. i st. It was the first great blow at the aristocratic 
or landed class of Virginia, and is noticed by Jefferson in his Autobiography ; 
ante, I, 49. This is the draft of the bill, in Jefferson's handwriting, the bill as 
finally adopted being in the Session Acts for 1776. p. 37 ; A Collection of the 
Public Acts of Va., 1785, p. 45 ; and in Hcning, ix, 226. 

' As this was one of the first bills passed by the Assembly as formed under 
the Constitution adopted in this year, the enacting clause was not yet definitely 
settled, and is left blank in the draft. 

1776] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 1 05 

been passed, conveied or assured had the same been held in fee- 
simple by the person so passing, conveying or assuring the same : 
and such deed, will or other conveiance shall be good and effec- 
tual to bar the issue in tail & those in remainder and revertor as 
to such estate or estates so passed, conveied, or assured by such 
deed will or other conveiance. 

Provided nevertheless that such deed, will, or other conveiance 
shall be executed, acknoleged, or proved, and recorded in like 
manner as, and in all cases where, the same should have been 
done, had the person or persons so conveying or assuring held 
the said lands or slaves, or use of lands and slaves or such re- 
version or remainder in fee-simple. 

Amendments to Bill to Abolish Entails} 

[Oct. 18] 
Line 18. omit 'have &c. to the end of the bill, & insert 'from 
henceforth, or from the commencement of such estate tail, stand 
ipso facto seized, possessed, or entitled of, in, or to, such lands 
or slaves or use in lands or slaves so held or to be held as afore- 
said in possession, reversion, or remainder in full & absolute fee- 
simple, in like manner as if such deed, will, act of assembly, 
or other instrument had conveyed the same to him in fee- 
simple ; any words, limitations, or conditions in the said deed, 
will, act of assembly, or other instrument to the contrary 

Saving to all & every person & persons, bodies politic and 
corporate, other than the issue in tail & those in reversion & re- 
mainder, all such right title, interest & estate claim & demand, 
as they, every, or any of them could or might claim, if this act 
had never been made : and Saving also to such issue in tail & to 
those in reversion & remainder any right or title which they may 
have acquired by their own contract for good & valuable consid- 
ation actually & bona fide paid or performed. 

' These amendments were proposed by Jefferson himself, and are taken 
from the original in his handwriting;, in the Virginia archives. 

io6 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 


J. MSS. 

[October 14, 1776.] 
Whereas great numbers of the inhabitants of this common- 
wealth must frequently & of necessity resort to the seat of 
government where general assemblies are convened, Superior 
courts are held & the Governor & Council usually transact the 
executive business of government ; & the equal rights of all the 
sd inhabitants require that such seat of government should be as 
nearly central to all as may be, having regard only to navigation, 
the benefits of which are necessary for promoting the growth of 
a town sufficient for the accommodation of those who resort 
thereto, and able to aid the operations of government : and it 
has been also found inconvenient in the course of the present 
war where seats of government have been so situated as to be 
exposed to the insults &: injuries of the public enemy ; which 
dangers may be avoided and equal justice done to all the Citizens 
of this commonwealth by removing the seat of government to the 
town of in the county of which is more 

safe & central than any other town situated on navigable water : 
Be it therefore enacted by the general Assembly that six whole 
squares of ground surrounded each of them by four streets & 
containing all the ground within such streets situate 

in the said town of and on an open & 

airy part thereof shall be appropriated to the use & purpose 
of public buildings. On one of the sd squares shall be erected one 
house for the use of the General Assembly to be called the 
Capitol, which said Capitol shall contain two apartments for the 
use of the Senate & their clerk, two others for the use of the 
house of delegates & their clerk, and others for the purposes of 

' On Oct. 14th the House of Delegates " ordered. That leave be given to bring 
in a bill for the removal of the seat of government, and that Mr. Jefferson, 
Mr. Adams and Mr. Starke do prepare and bring in the same." On the same 
day Jefferson introduced this bill, which was read for a first time, and " on the 
question put that the said bill be read a second time, it passed in the negative." 
Journal for 1776, p. 51. See Jefferson's ^w/o/^^VTo-ra/Z/j', aiitc, i, 55. A bill 
for this purpose, with the preamble of the above, was introduced by Harvey on 
May 28, 1779, and passed. It is printed in A Collection of the Public Acts of 
Virginia, 1785, p. lOO ; and in Hcnitig, x, 85. 


Conferences, Committees, & a Lobby, of such forms & dimensions 
as shall be adapted to their respective purposes. On one other 
of the sd squares shall be erected another building to be called 
the Halls [sic] of justice which shall contain two apartments for 
the use of the court of Appeals & it's clerk, two others for the 
use of the High court of Chancery & it's clerk, two others for the 
General court & it's clerk, two others for the use of the Court of 
Admiralty & it's clerk, & others for the uses of grand & petty 
juries, of such forms & dimensions as shall be adapted to their 
respective purposes ; and on the same square last mentioned 
shall be built a public jail with few apartments for the present 
but so planned as to admit of addition hereafter. One other of 
the sd squares shall be reserved for the purpose of building 
thereon hereafter a house for the several executive boards and 
oiifices to beheld in. Two others with the intervening street 
shall be reserved for the use of the governor of this common- 
wealth for the time being to be built on hereafter. And the 
remaining square shall be appropriated to the use of a public 
Market. The said houses shall be built in a handsome manner 
with walls of brick, or stone & Porticos where the same may 
be convenient or ornamental, and with pillars & pavements of 

There shall be appointed by joint ballot of both houses of 
assembly five persons to be called the directors of the public 
buildings, who, or any three of them shall have power to make 
choice of such squares of ground situate as before directed, as 
shall be most proper & convenient for the sd public purposes, 
to agree on plans for the said buildings, to employ proper work- 
men to erect the same, to superintend them, to procure necessary 
materials by themselves or by the board of trade, & to draw on 
the Treasurer of this commonwealth from time to time for such 
sums of money as shall be wanting ; the plans & estimates of 
which shall be submitted to the two houses of assembly when- 
soever called for by their joint vote, & shall be subjected to their 

And that reasonable satisfaction may be paid & allowed for 

all such lots of ground as by virtue of this act may be taken & 

appropriated to the uses aforesaid, the clerk of the county of 

is hereby empowered & required on requisition from 

io8 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

the s'' directors to issue a writ in nature of a writ of Ad quod 
damnum to be directed to the sheriff of the s"^ county command- 
ing him to summon & impanel twelve able & discreet freeholders 
of the vicinage no ways concerned in interest in the sd lots of 
land nor related to the owners or proprietors thereof to meet on 
the sd lots on a certain day to be named in the sd writ not under 
five nor more than ten days from the date thereof, of which 
notice shall be given by the sheriff to the proprietors and tenants 
of the sd lots of land if they be to be found within the county, & 
if not, then to their agents therein if any they have, which free- 
holders taking nothing, on pain of being discharged from the in- 
quest & immediately imprisoned by the sheriff, either of meat or 
drink from any person whatever from the time they come to the 
sd place until their inquest, seated shall be charged by the sd 
sheriff impartially & to the best of their skill & judgment to value 
the sd lots of ground in so many several & distinct parcels as 
shall be owned & held by several & distinct owners & tenants & 
according to their respective interests & estates therein, & if the 
sd valuation cannot be completed in one day then the sd sheriff 
shall adjourn the sd jurors from day to day until the same be 
completed ; & after such valuation made the sd sheriff shall forth- 
with return the same under the hands & seals of the sd jurors to 
the clerk's office of the sd county, and the right & property of 
the sd owners & tenants in the sd lots of land shall be immediately 
divested & be transferred to this commonwealth in full & abso- 
lute dominion, any want of consent or disability to consent in 
the sd owners & tenants notwithstanding. 

The costs of the sd inquest & the several sums at which the 
rights of the owners & tenants are valued shall be paid by the 
Treasurer to the sd owners, tenants & others entitled respectively 
on warrant from the Auditors.' 

And whereas it may be expedient to enlarge the sd town of 
by laying off a number of lots to be added, thereto, & 
it may also happen that some of the lands adjacent to the sd town 
may be more convenient for the public uses ; be it therefore 
enacted that the sd directors cause tw^o hundred additional lots 
or half acres, with nec essary streets to be laid off adjacent to 

' This clause, which is stricken out, follows : " The sd directors shall work 
at the public expense for the act." 


such parts of the sd town as to them shall seem most convenient 
and they shall also be at liberty to appropriate the six squares 
aforesd or any part of them either from among the lots now in the 
sd town, or those to be laid off as before directed, or of the lands 
adjacent to the sd former or latter lots ; and the sd six squares & 
two hundred lots shall thenceforth be a part of the sd town, and 
the sd directors shall return into the clerk's office of the sd coun- 
ty of there to be recorded, a full & distinct report under 
their hands and seals of the lots and squares of land added by 
them to the sd town or appropriated to the public uses, together 
with a plan thereof, the rights of the several owners & tenants of 
the lots of land so to be added to the town & not appropriated 
to the public uses are nevertheless saved to them. 

And be it further enacted that from & after the last day of 
December which shall be in the year of our Lord 1780 the sd 
Court of Appeals, High Court of Chancery, General Court & 
Court of Admiralty shall hold their sessions in the apartments 
prepared for them by the sd directors in the sd Halls of justice ; 
that the first meeting of general assembly after the same day 
shall be in the said Capitol, that the clerks of the two houses of 
Assembly and of the several courts before mentioned, shall 
previously cause to be removed thither at the public expense the 
records, papers, and other things belonging to their respective 
offices, and that the keeper of the public jail shall in like manner 
cause all prisoners in his custody to be removed to the public 
jail to be built as before directed, which shall thenceforward be 
deemed and used as the public jail spoken of by the laws whether 
heretofore or hereafter passed. 


establishment/ J. Mss. 

[October 28, 1776.] 
Whereas it has been thought necessary by the American Con- 
gress that the armies of the United States should be augmented 

'On October 15, 1776, the House of Delegates appointed Mr. Treasurer 
(R. C. Nicholas), Nelson, Bullitt, Jefferson, and Smith to prepare this bill. On 


to eighty eight battalions, to be enlisted to serve during the con- 
tinuance of the present war unless sooner discharged, & that 
fifteen of the said battalions should be furnished by this Common- 
wealth ; and the said Congress by their resolutions have engaged 
to give to every noncommissioned officer & private soldier a 
present bounty of twenty dollars (an annual bounty of a suit of 
clothes, to consist for the present year of two linen hunting 
shirts, two pr of overalls, a leathern or woollen waistcoat with 
sleeves, one pr of breeches, a hat or leathern cap, 2 shirts, 2 pr 
of hose, & 2 pr of shoes, amounting in the whole to the value of 
20 dollars or that sum to be paid to each soldier who shall pro- 
cure those articles for themselves) & to provide the following 
portions of lands to be given at the close of the war, or whenso- 
ever discharged to the officers and soldiers who shall engage in 
the said service, or to their representatives if slain by the enemy ; 
to wit, to every noncommissioned officer or soldier one hundred 
acres, to every ensign one hundred and fifty acres, to every 
Lieutenant two hundred acres, to every captain three hundred 
acres, to every Major four hundred acres, to every Lieutt. Colonel 
four hundred & fifty acres & to every Colonel five hundred acres. 
And whereas there are already in the Continental service eight 
battalions of regulars raised in this Commonwealth who were 
enlisted to serve for certain terms only, and one other battalion, 
formerly in the same service &: dissolved by the expiration of the 
time of their enlistment, has been ordered to be reestablished by 
new levies ; which nine battalions are to be taken as part of the 
fifteen from this commonwealth provided they shall re-enlist for 
the continuance of the war : and there are also in the service of 
this commonwealth (nine companies of marines &) five companies 
of land forces stationed at different posts on the river Ohio whom 
it may be expedient to engage in the six new battalions now 
necessary to be raised to complete the said number of fifteen 

Oct. 24th, they added to these, Jones, Fleming, Henry, and Read. The bill 
was reported by Jefferson on Oct. 28th, and read the first time. Read the 
second time on the following day, and passed on Nov. 2d. This is printed 
from the original draft in Jefferson's handwriting. The act as adopted is given 
in Hening, ix, lyg. 

1776] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 1 1 1 

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly of the Com- 
monwealth of Virginia that ' it shall & may be lawful for the 
governor with the advice of his privy council & he & they are 
hereby required to take such measures as to them shall seem 
most expedient for engaging the said nine battalions & also so 
many (of the sd Marines &) of the companies stationed on the 
Ohio as shall be willing to be of the Armies of the United States 
on the new establishment before recited ; & for that purpose to 
give recruiting Powers to the officers commanding the same, or 
to send special Commissioners if that measure shall appear more 
effectual, or to adopt any other ways or means most likely to 
procure their speedy enlistment. 

[' And whereas it will be necessary, in order to augment & 
form the said Marines into one complete battalion, that an 
additional company or companies should be raised for that pur- 
pose, but the numbers which may be wanting of officers & men 
being now unknown, the appointing & raising the same cannot 
be precisely directed, be it therefore enacted that it shall & 
may be lawful for the governor by warrant under his hand to 
authorize such of the County committees as he shall think proper 
to appoint such & so many captains & other inferior officers as 
may be wanting completely to officer the said battalion, who shall 
immediately proceed to raise their quotas of men : & in case any 
officers of the Marines engaging in the sd service shall fail to 
raise the quota of men hereafter prescribed for his office before 
the day of next it shall be lawful for 

the governor with the advice of the privy council either to 
appoint another in his stead or to continue him as shall appear 
most likely to expedite the raising his said quota. 

And be it farther enacted that the Committees for the counties 
of Fincastle, Botetourt, East-Augusta, & Hampshire shall each of 
them appoint one captain, 2 Lieutenants, one Ensign & four 

'Then follows this clause, which is stricken out: "a committee of three 
persons shall to be chosen by joint ballot of both houses shall proceed im- 
mediately." And Jefferson has written : " Govt, to re-enlist 9 former bat- 
talions, marines & Ohio garrisons. T. Nelson, R. H. Lee, etc." 

'■' " Govr. to direct commees shall No. companies to compleat Battalions of 
marines." — /'. y. 

112 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

sergeants to be added to the officers of the five companies 
stationed on the Ohio or to such of them as shall be willing to 
engage as aforesaid in the Continental service & shall with them 
be formed into one battalion ; provided that if all or any of the 
officers of the sd five companies stationed on the Ohio shall 
refuse to enter into the sd service it shall be lawful for the 
Committee of the county from which such officer or officers 
received his or their appointment to appoint others in their 
room.] ' 

Quotas from ^"^^ ^°'' raising the sd six additional battalions be 
the several it further enacted that the committee for the district 
coun les. ^^ West Augusta shall have power to appoint ten 
captains, twenty Lieutenants & ten Ensigns & the committees 
for the other counties in this commonwealth to appoint the 
following officers respectively 
to wit, the Commee for the county of 

Accomack (1208 militia). - 
90 Albemarle (1254 militia) + 70 minte. — 54 officers = 1270 \_io6\ 95. 

82 Amelia (abt. 11 50) [90J 8j 
46 Amhurst (abt. 650, [97] 48 
142 Augusta I. Captain, 2 Lieutenants, & i Ensign «jr= ./ Serjeants (ikit. 

2000) [/67J 149 
100 Bedford (abt. 1400) [7/9] 104 

124 Botetourt i. Captain, 2 Lieutenants, & i Ensign ?^ 4 Serjeants (zkii. 1600) 
[7.2'6] 779 
85 Brunswick (abt. 1200, [^j] go 
46 Buckingham (600 excluse officers) 4- 50 [57] 40 
85 Berkeley (abt. 1200 Mr Wood) [95] go 

70. Caroline (983) \yi\ 7^ 

25. Charles City (350) [.?/] 2b 

58. Charlotte (812 militia) [64] 61 

68. Chesterfield (abt. 960) [7^] 70 

100. Culpepper (abt. 1400) [770] 104 

71. Cumberland (abt. 1000 militia) \yg\ 75 

' The paragraphs in brackets are stricken out. 

"^ In the bill as passed, from one to three officers are assigned to each county, 
and it is thus apparent that this list was merely an approximation of the 
probable recruits from each county, the figures to the right having been first 
written, and then struck out, those to the left representing the ultimate con- 
clusion of the committee. 

1776] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 1 1 3 

50. Dinwiddie (abt. 700 Mr. Tazew.) [sj]j:^ 

57. Dunmore (abt. 800 nt more yn 500 besides menonists &c., [6j] 61 

II. Eliz. City (120) + 90 \i2\ 12 

32. Essex (abt. 450) [ j^] 33 

71. Fairfax (abt. 1000) \yg\ 76 

78. Fauquier (abt. 1000) + 100 [<?7] 82 

go. Frederick (1264 militia) \^io6\ gs 

142. Fincastle i. Captain, 2 Lieutenants, & i Ensign i^ 4 serjeants (2006) 

64. Gloster (abt. 900) [7/] 67 

37, Goochland (520) [^/] j>9 
71. Halifax (abt. 1000) \yg\ 75 

50. Hampshire i. Captain, 2 Lieutenants, k i Ensign (abt. 700 rank & file) 

[55] 52 

64. Hanover (abt. 800) + 100 min [7/] 67 

35. Henrico (abt. 500) [^o] 30 

14. James City (190) [/j] 14 

51. Isle of Wight (abt. 650) + 75 [57] 54 
32. K. George (abt. 400) + 50 [jj] 32 
42. K & Queen (600) [^7] ^ 

35. K. Wm. (about 500. Mr. Colman. Colo Brooke) [40] 38 

14. Lancaster (abt. 200) [/<5] IS 

114. Loudoun (abt. 1600 besides Quakers) \i26\ iig 

42. Louisa (550 militia abt) + 50 minute men [^7] 44 

42. Lunenburgh (563 militia.) + 30 minte. [^6] 43 

21. Middlesx (abt 300) [^./] 23 

60. Muhlenburgh (850) [67] 63 

57. Nansemd. (abt. 800) [dj] 60 

32. N. Kent (448— r & f.) [ jj"] Jo 

71. Norfolk (900) +100 \yg\ 75 


50. Northumbld. (700) [jj] go 

38. Orange (above 500) + 50 [^j] .^/ 
no. Pittsylva. (1550) [/^^] //9 

38. Pr. Edwd. (abt 550 militia) [Vj] 41 

32. Pr George (abt 450) [63] 33 

32. Prss. Anne (abt 450) [ J5] 33 

71. Pr. Wm. (917 militia) + 75 = 100 [79] j^ 

33. Richmond (abt 470) \3t\ 34 
53 Southampton (750) [59] /6 
35 Spotsylve (500) [^o] .?<? 

35 Stafford (abt 400) 4- 100 by Mr. Brent) [^o] 38 

25 Surry (abt 350) [^7] ^6 

47 Sussex (abt 660) [50] ^9 

7 Warwick (100) [<$"] 7 



50 Weslmld. (627) + 70 = 700 [jj] go 
21 York (abt 260) + 40 free negroes [^^] 22 
14 Wmsburgh 200 [/6] /j 


which several officers so to be appointed shall immediately pro- 
ceed to enlist the several quotas of men following, that is to say, 
every Captain shall enlist 28 men, every first Lieutcnt. 20, every 
sd. Lieutt. 16, & every ensign 10 & shall be at liberty to do the 
same as well within their respective counties as without. 
Officers fail- '^^^ ^^ ^'^^ officer shall fail to recruit his quota of 
ing to en- men before mentiond on or before the 
list quotas. ^^^ ^^ ^^^.^ ^y^^ Commee of the county 

by whom such officer was appointed may either appoint another 
in his stead, or may continue him if it shall appear to them that 
the quota of such officer may be sooner completed by his con- 
tinuance. But if he or the officer appointed in his stead shall 
further fail to raise the sd quota before the day 

of next, then the commee of the county who 

appointed such officer shall make report of the whole matter to 
the Governor, who with the advice of the privy council shall take 
such measures thereon as shall seem most likely to expedite the 
raising the said quota, whether it be by continuing the same 
officer, or by making a new appointment ; and wheresoever any 
new appointment shall be made on failure of any officer or officers 
to raise their quota, the men enlisted by such officer or officers 
so failing shall be delivered over to the officer appointed to 
succeed him, he refunding to the officer who enlisted the same 
such recruiting expenses as the committee shall judge reasonable. 
And be it further enacted, that to each of the sd six additional 
battalions i Colonel, one Lieutenant Colonel & one Major shall 
be appointed by joint ballot of both houses of assembly and one 
chaplain & one Surgeon by the field officers & captains of each 
battalion respectively, & that all Chaplains, & Surgeons as well 
of the sd six battalions as of the nine battalions now in Con- 
tinental service shall at all times be removeable, and others ap- 
pointed in their steads by the sd field officers & Captains of their 
respective battalions for good cause to them shewn : and the 

1776] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 1 1 5 

Surgeon's Mates shall be appointed by the Surgeon himself with 
the approbation of the Commanding officer of the battalion & the 
Adjutant, Regimental Quarter Master, Serg'. Major, Quarter Mas- 
ter Sergeant & Drum Major by the said commanding officer of 
the battalion. 

And be it further enacted that the Quotas of men raised by the 
officers to be appointed by the Commee of West Augusta shall be 
formed into distinct companies by the sd Commee 
which companies shall constitute one of the sd six formTdinto 
additional battalions : & the Quotas raised by the companies 
officers to be appointed by any other Commees shall battal- 

by the same Commee be formed into one or more 
companies or parts of a company according to the nature & num- 
ber of the Quotas : & the said companies & parts of companies 
shall be formed into battalions of ten companies each by the 
governor or in his absence by the President who shall Allot to 
each battalion such of the field officers to be appointed by the 
two houses of assembly as he shall judge best suited to the same, 
and shall deliver to the Continental Commander in this Colony a 
roll of each battalion as soon as the same shall be so embodied 
and officered. 

And whereas it is apprehended that sufficient care and atten- 
tion hath not been alwais had by officers to the cleanliness, to 
the health & to the comfort of the soldiers entrusted to their 
command be it therefore enacted that so long as any troops from 
this commonwealth shall be in any service to the Northward 
thereof it shall & may be lawful for our delegates in Congress 
& they are hereby required from time to time to enquire into the 
state & condition of the troops & the conduct of the officers com- 
manding & where any troops raised in this commonwealth are 
upon duty within the same or any where to the Southward there 
the Gov' & Council are required to make similar enquiry by such 
ways or means as shall be in their power ; &: whensoever it shall 
be found that any officer appointed by this commonwealth shall 
have been guilty of negligence or want of fatherly care of the 
soldiers under his command they are hereby respectively re- 
quired to report to this assembly the whole truth of the case who 
hereby reserve to themselves a power of removing such officer : 

ii6 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

& whenever they shall find that such troops shall have suffered 
thro' the negligence or inattention of any officer of Continental 
Appointment they are in like manner to make report thereof to 
this assembly whose duty it will be to represent the same to Con- 
gress : and they are further respectively required from time to 
time to procure & lay before this assembly exact returns of the 
numbers & condition of such their troops. 


[Nov. 4, 1776.] 
For fixing the places of holding courts for the counties of Pitt- 
sylvania & Henry. Be it enacted by the General assembly of the 
Commonwealth of Virginia that it shall & may be lawful for the 
freeholders of the said county of Pittsylvania qualified by law 
to vote for representatives in general assembly, & they are hereby 
required to meet at the house of Richard Faithing in the said 
county on the day of next, then & there to chuse the most 
convenient place (having due regard as well to the extent of the 
said county as to the populousness of its several parts) for holding 
courts for the said county in future. 

And be it further enacted that notice shall be given to the free- 
holders of the said county of Pittsylvania by the Sheriff, ministers 
& readers, in the same manner & under the like penalties as are 
directed for giving notice of an election of representatives to 
serve in General assembly & that the election shall be held by 
the said Sheriff in the same manner as such election of repre- 

" On Oct. 25th leave was granted to introduce this bill, and Jefferson, Williams, 
Bullitt, and Terry were named to do it. On Nov. 4th it was read the first time 
and on the 5th it vk^as read a second time and committed to the Committee of 
the Whole. On Nov. 2ist it was sent back to the drafting committee, to which 
the members from Pittsylvania were added. It was reported again on Dec. 2d, 
and passed on the 5th. It is difficult to discover the cause for dissatisfaction 
with Jefferson's draft, which led to its recommittal, for a comparison with the 
act as passed gives no indication of it, but it undoubtedly was intended to aid 
the western counties in the struggle to obtain equal privileges with those on 
the tide-waters. 


sentatives to serve in General assembly, writing down the names 
of the places voted for, every one in a separate column of his poll, 
& the names of every freeholder voting under the place for which 
he votes : & the place for which the most votes shall be given 
shall thenceforth be the place for holding courts for the said 
county : & after the election shall be made the sheriff shall return 
the original poll, attested by himself, to the clerk's office of the 
said county, by whom the same shall be recorded. 

And be it further enacted that the same rules & proceedings 
shall be observed in every article relating to the said election & 
all persons failing to do their respective duties shall incur the 
same and be subject to the same actions as are prescribed by law 
in case of an election of representatives to serve in General 

And be it further enacted that it shall and may be lawful for 
the freeholders of the said county of Henry qualified by law to 
vote forrepresentatives to serve in General assembly, & they are 
hereby required, at the time & place to make their first choice of 
representatives (which place is hereby declared to be the planta- 
tion of John Rolands) to make choice also of the most convenient 
place for holding courts for the said county of Henry in future 
having due regard as well to the extent of the said county as to 
the populousness of it's several parts, which election shall be 
notified & held, & in all circumstances to be conducted by the 
same rules & proceedings, & all persons failing to do their 
respective duties shall incur the like penalties & be subject to the 
same action as before directed for the county of Pittsylvania. 

Provided that if the freeholders of either of the said counties 
of Pittsylvania or Henry shall be prevented by rain snow or 
accidental rise of watercourses from assembling at the places of 
election on either of the days beforementioned that then it shall 
& may be lawful for the Sheriff & he is hereby required to post- 
pone the election so prevented until that day week, & so in like 
manner from week to week so often as the case shall happen. 

And whereas by the usual course of the law sheriffs can not be 
qualified for their offices but by the justices of the peace in open 
court at the court-house of their counties ; and no court can be 
held for the qualification of a sheriff for the said county of Henry 

ii8 THE WRITINGS OF [1776 

until a place for holding the same is fixed on as before directed ; 
be therefore that the sheriff for the county of Pittsylvania shall 
have authority & power & he is hereby required to notify & hold 
the sd election for the county of Henry as well of a place for 
holding courts as aforesaid as for making their first choice 
of representatives to serve in General assembly, in like manner & 
subject to the same penalties & actions as are before presented 
in the case of the election for the county of Pittsylvania. 


COIN.* v. s. A. 

[Nov. 7, 1776.] 
For rendering the half penny pieces of copper coin of this 
commonwealth of more convenient value & by that means 
introducing them into more general circulation ; be it enacted by 
the General Assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia that from 
and after the passing of this act the said pieces of copper coin 
shall pass in all payments for one penny each of current money 
of Virginia. Provided nevertheless as was heretofore provided 
by the laws that no person shall be obliged to take above one 
shilling of the said copper coin in any one paiment of twentv 
shillings or under, nor more than two shillings & six pence of 
the said coin in any one paiment of a greater sum than twenty 


In the House of Delegates, 

Thursday, Nov. 28, 1776. 

Mr. Jefferson, from the Committee of Privileges and Elections, 
reported that the committee had, according to order, had under 

' On Nov. 7th the House of Delegates gave leave for the introduction of this 
bill, and named Jefferson and Fleming to " propose the same," which was done 
the same day. On Nov. 8th it was read for a second time and on Nov. 2rst was 

"^ From the Virginia Gazette^ Dec. 13, 1776. 


their consideration the petition of Arthur Upshur, to them 
referred, and had agreed to the following report and resolution 
thereupon ; which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered 
in at the clerk's table, where the same were again twice read, and 
agreed to. Your committee find that the said Arthur Upshur 
having several vessels on the stocks, cleared one of them out for 
the British West Indies on the 20th day of July, 1775, but that 
the said vessel was not launched until the 26th day of August ; 
that on the 2d day of September, when the storm happened, the 
said vessel had no part of her loading on board ; that the said 
vessel sailed after the loth day of September to one of the foreign 
West India Islands, with a load of Indian corn ; that on the 2d 
day of October following the Committee of the county of Acco- 
mack proceeded to inquire into the matter, and on such inquiry 
declared the said Upshur had violated the continental associa- 
tion by sending out the said vessel and ordered his case to be 
published in the Virginia Gazette ; that after the return of the 
said vessel, the said Upshur (as appears by the minutes of the 
said committee) denying that he had intentionally violated the 
said association, voluntarily submitted the matter again to the 
determination of the committee, who, at a session held on the 8th 
day of January, 1776, upon farther enquiry, were of the opinion 
that he had violated the said association ignorantly, but that, 
having behaved obstinately, and ill afterwards, he ought to be 
fined, and they accordingly fined him 100^, which sum the said 
Upshur deposited with a member of the committee. Your com- 
mittee farther find, that the said petitioner hath conducted him- 
self, both before and since the said transaction, as a friend to the 
American cause. 

Resolved, that though the committee of Accomack were actu- 
ated by the best of motives, yet they erred in proceeding to 
impose the fine upon the petitioner, and that therefore the said 
fine ought to be restored to the said petitioner by the person with 
whom it was deposited. 

Resolved, that the said petitioner having violated the associa- 
tion through ignorance, and having in other respects conducted 
himself as a friend to the American cause, ought to be restored to 
the rights of dealing and intercourse with his country. 



[Dec. 5, 1776.] 
For the punishment of Treasons, misprisions of treason or 
concealment of treasons, felonies, robberies, murthers & con- 
federacies hereafter to be committed out of this Commonwealth. 
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth 
of Virginia that all treasons, misprisions of treasons, conceal- 
ments of treasons, felonies, robberies, murthers & confederacies 
hereafter to be committed in or upon the sea, or in any haven, 
river creek or other place by land or by water not within the 
body of any county of this Commonwealth, shall be enquired, 
tried, heard, determined & judged in such counties and places in 
this Commonwealth as shall be limited by the Governor's com- 
mission or commissions to be directed for the same in like form 
& condition as if any such offence or offences had been com- 
mitted or done in or upon land : and such commission shall be 
had under the seal of the CommonAvealth directed to any three 
or more judges of the General Court, from time to time and as 
oft as need shall require to hear & determine in such offences 
after the common course of the laws of this Commonwealth, used 
for treasons, misprisions of treasons, concealments of treasons 
felonies, murthers, robberies, & confederacies of the same, done 
and committed upon the land within this Commonwealth. 

And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that such persons 
to whom such commission or commissions shall be directed, or 
two of them at the least, shall have full power & authority to 
enquire of such offences & of every of them, by the oaths of 
twelve good & lawful inhabitants in the county limited in their 
commission in such like manner & form, as if such offences had 
been committed upon the land within the same county ; and that 
every indictment found and presented before such commissioners, 
of any treasons, misprisions of treasons, concealments of treasons, 
felonies, robberies, murthers, man-slaughters, or such other 
offences, being committed or done in and upon the seas, or in or 
upon any haven, river, creek or other places by land or by water 
not being in the body of any county of this Commonwealth, shall 


be good and effectual in the law ; and if any person or persons 
happen to be indicted for any such offence done or here- 
after to be done upon the seas, or in any other place above 
limited, that then such order, process, judgement, & execution 
shall be used, had, done & made, to & against every such person 
and persons so being indicted as against Traytors, felons, mur- 
therers and other offenders aforesaid for treason, misprision of 
treason, concealment of treason, felony, robbery, murther, or 
other such offences done upon the land, as by the laws of 
this Commonwealth is accustomed ; & that the trial of such 
offence or offences if it be denied by the oifender or 
offenders, shall be had by twelve lawful men inhabited in the 
county limited within such commission, which shall be directed 
as is aforesaid, & no challenge or challenges to be had for the 
county ; & such as shall be convicted of any such offence or 
offences by verdict, confession or process, by authority of any 
such commission, shall have & suffer such pains of death, losses 
of lands, goods & chattels, as if they had been attainted & con- 
victed of any treasons, misprisions of treasons, concealments of 
treasons, felonies, robberies, or other the said offences done upon 
the lands. 

And be it enacted by authority afore said, that for treasons, 
misprisions of treasons, concealments of treasons, felonies, mur- 
thers & confederacies done upon the sea or seas, or in or upon 
any haven, river or creek of this Commonwealth, the offenders 
shall not be admitted to have the benefit of his or their clergy, 
but be utterly excluded thereof & from the same. 

Provided alway, that this act extend not to be prejudicial or 
hurtfull to any person or persons, for taking any victual, cables, 
ropes, anchors, or sails, which any such person or persons (com- 
pelled by necessity) taketh of or in any ship which may con- 
veniently spare the same, so that the same person or persons pay 
out of hand for the same victual, cables, ropes, anchors, or sales, 
money or money-worth, to the value of the thing so taken, or do 
deliver for the same a sufficient bill obligatory to be paid within 
months next ensuing the making of such bills, & that the 
makers of such bills well and truly pay the same debt at the day 
to be limited within the said bills. 



DEBT.' V. s. A. 

[Dec. 6, 1776.] 
Whereas by the expiration of the act for the regulating and 
collecting certain officers fees, and by the troubles which have 
since subsisted in this country, the administration of justice hath 
been in a great measure suspended ; and altho it is thought 
proper to revive and establish the courts of justice for the pur- 
pose of securing & preserving internal peace & good order, 
of determining disputed rights and titles and of ascertaining just 
debts and unsettled demands which might otherwise be lost by 
the death of witnesses or insolvency of debtors ; yet nevertheless 
it may produce great oppression and ruin to debtors to suffer 
executions to be levied on decrees to beinforced, during the pres- 
ent limited and uncertain state of our trade, for debts heretofore 
contracted : Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly 
of the Commonwealth of Virginia that when judgement shall be 
entered or decree passed in any court of record for the recovery 
of money due from the defendant or defendants before the pass- 
ing of this act, if such defendant or defendants shall give to the 
said court good 6^ sufficient security for paiment of the money 
whensoever by a restoration of trade or from other circumstances 
it shall appear proper to the General assembly to pass an act for 
levying executions or enforcing decrees for money then such 

' The system of mortgaging crops in Virginia ; the non-exportation associa- 
tion of the Continental Congress ; the interruption of all trade by the restrain- 
ing acts ; and the outbreak of actual war, threatened to force bankruptcy on the 
larger part of the planter interest in that State. This class therefore united in 
opposing the establishment of courts of justice under the new constitution. In 
hopes of lessening this serious opposition, leave was given by the Burgesses, 
Dec. 5th, for the introduction of this bill, and Mason, Jefferson, T. Adams, 
Bullitt, Nicholas, and Braxton were named a committee to do so. On Dec. 6th 
it was introduced by Mason, and read the first time. On the gth it was read 
for a second time and committed to theCommitee of the Whole. In the mean 
time, the planters, not satisfied with this sop, had succeeded in deferring the 
bills organizing the courts, till the next session ; so those opposed to them 
united and deferred this bill also. It was never again introduced. The draft 
is in Jefferson's handwriting. 


court shall order execution of the sd judgement or process for 
enforcing the said decree to be stayed, entering of record the re- 
cognisance of such security, so that if the money be not paid when 
directed by such future act of assembly, a scire facias may issue 
thereon, without the necessity of commencing a new suit. 


[May 10, I777-] 
For making provision against invasions & insurrections & lay- 
ing the burthen thereof equally on all be it enacted by the General 
assembly of the Conwionwealth of Virginia that the division of the 
militia of each county into ten parts directed by a for?fier ordi- 
nance shall be completed & kept up in the following manner. The 
commanding officer of every county within one month after every 
general muster shall enroll under some captain such persons not 
before enrolled as ought to make a part of the militia, who together 
with those before enrolled & not yet formed into tenths 6" with 
such Quakers c^ MenoJiists as are not formed into tenths shall by 
such captain at his first muster after receiving the same be divided 
into equal parts as nearly as may be, each part to be distinguished 
by fair and equal lot by numbers from one to ten, & when so 
distinguished to be added to, and make part of the division 
of the militia of such county already distinguished by the same 

And where any person subject to such allotment shall not attend, 
or shall refuse to draw for himself, the captain shall cause his lot 
to be drawn for him by some other in presence of the company. 

' The House of Delegates gave leave May 9, 1777, to introduce this bill and 
named Jefferson, Fleming, and Braxton to draw it. The former reported it on 
May loth, when it was read for the first time. On May i6th and i8th it was con- 
sidered in the Committee of the Whole, and ordered to be engrossed, and on 
May 2ist it was passed. This is printed from the draft in Jefferson's hand- 
writing, and varies considerably from the Act as printed in the Session Acts for 
May, 1777, p. 13 ; The Report of the Revisers, p. 6 ; ^ Collection of the Public 
Acts of Virginia, 1785, p. 52 ; and Ilening, X, 294. 

124 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

When any ofificer of the militia shall receive notice of any inva- 
sion or insurrection within his own county, he shall immediately 
give intelligence thereof to the commanding officer of the county 
& if the urgency of the case requires it he shall forthwith raise the 
militia under his special command & proceed to oppose the enemy 
or insurgents : the commanding officer of the county on receiving 
notice thereof shall immediately if the case will admit delay or be 
greater than the force of his own militia may encounter, communi- 
cate the same to the Governor, by express, for which purpose he may 
impress boats, men & horses, & may also notify to any militia officer 
of the adjacent counties to be by him forwarded to his command- 
ing officer & in the meantime if it be urging shall raise such part 
of his own militia as the case shall require tS: admit. The com- 
manding officer of any adjacent county receiving the notice so 
forwarded, shall immediately raise such part of his militia, not ex- 
ceeding two thirds, as the circumstances of the case may require 
& order them to the assistance of such adjacent county : but any 
of the commanding officers, if he think the case of too small con- 
sequence to require these proceedings may call a council of war 
to consist of a majority of his field officers & captains & take their 
advice whether any & what force shall be raised or sent or whether 
they may await the governor's orders. 

The governor on receiving such intelligence may, with the advice 
of the council of state cause to be embodied & marched to oppose 
such invasion or insurrection, such members of the militia as may 
be needful and from such counties as will suit the exigencies of 
the case ; & if the corps consist of three or more battalions, may 
appoint a General officer to take command thereof. 

The several divisions of the militia of any county shall be called 
into duty by regular rotation from the first to the tenth, & every 
person failing to attend when called on, or to send an able bodied 
man in his room, shall, unless there be good excuse, be considered 
as a deserter & suffer accordingly. 

Any able bodied volunteers who will enter into the service shall 
be accepted instead of so many of the divisions of militia called 
for but if the invasion or insurrection be so near & pressing as not 
to allow the delay of calling for the division or divisions next in 
turn, the commanding officer may call on such part of the militia 


as shall be most convenient, to continue in duty till such division 
or divisions can come to supply their places. 

The soldiers of such militia if not well armed & provided with 
ammunition shall be furnished with the arms & ammunition of 
the county & any deficiency in these may be supplied from the 
public magazines, or, if the case admit not the delay, by impress- 
ing arms & ammunition of private property, which ammunition 
so far as not used, & arms, shall be duly returned as soon as they 
may be spared & any person embezzling any such public or pri- 
vate arms, or not delivering them up when required by his com- 
manding officer shall on his warrant be committed to prison with- 
out bail or mainprise there to remain till he deliver or make full 
satisfaction for the same. 

The commanding officer shall appoint such officers of the 
militia as he shall think most proper to command the men called 
out by divisions in the following proportions : if there be called 
into duty not more than 15 men he shall appoint one ensign & 
one Serjeant to command them : if not more than 25 men a lieu- 
tenant an ensign and two Serjeants ; if not more than 40 men, a 
captain, lieutenant ensign & three Serjeants ; if 50 men, a captain 
two lieutenants an ensign & four Serjeants ; & so in proportion 
for every greater number ; adding, if there be several companies, 
such field officers as may be requisite. A distinct list of the names 
& numbers of officers & soldiers sent on duty, with the time 
they served, attested on oath by the officer commanding such 
party shall be certified by the commanding officer of the county 
to the next General assembly. 

Any officer resigning his commission on being called into duty 
by the Governor or his commanding officer, shall be ordered into 
the ranks^ & shall moreover suffer punishment as for disobedience 
of command. 

The commanding officer of the corps marching to oppose any 
invasion or insurrection, or any commissioned officer by warrant 
under the hand of such commander, may, for the necessary use of 
such corps or for the transportation of them across waters, or of 
their baggage by land or water, impress provisions, vessels with 
their furniture, hands, wagons, carts, horses, oxen, utensils for 
intrenching, smiths, wheelwrights, carpenters or other artificers, 

126 THE WRITINGS OF {xi^n 

& arms in the case before directed, such necessaries or the use of 
them by the day shall be previously appraised by two persons 
chosen the one by such ofificer & the other by the person inter- 
ested, or both by the officer if the person interested shall refuse to 
name one and duly sworn by the said officer who is hereby em- 
powered to administer the oath. Such officer shall give a receipt 
or certificate of every particular impressed, of its appraised value, 
& of the purpose for which it was impressed : and if any article 
impressed shall receive damage while in pubhc service such 
damage shall be enquired of & estimated by two men chosen & 
sworn in the same manner & shall be made good by the public. 

All persons drawn into actual service by virtue of this act shall 
be exempted in their persons & property from civil process, & 
all proceedings against them in civil courts shall be stayed during 
their continuance in service. 

Where any corps or detachment of militia shall be on duty with 
any corps or detachment of Colofiial regulars or Cotitinental troops, 
or both of them the Continental officers shall take command of 
the Colonial regulars of the same rank, & these again of militia 
officers of the same rank. 

The commanding officer of each of the counties of Elizabeth 
City, Princess Anne, Northampton & Accomack, with permission 
from the Governor, may appoint any number of men not exceeding 
six in each county to keep a constant lookout to seaward by night 
& by day ; who discovering any vessels appearing to belong to 
an enemy & to propose landing or hostility, shall immediately 
give notice thereof to some militia officer of the county, whereon 
such course shall be pursued as is before directed in case of an 
invasion or insurrection. 

The pay of all officers and soldiers of the militia, from the time 
they leave their homes, by order of their commanding officer till 
they return to them again, & of all lookouts shall be the same as 
shall have been allowed by the last regulations of General assem- 
bly to Colonial regulars of the same rank or degree. Messengers 
shall be allowed by the auditors of public accounts according to 
the nature of their service. 

Any militia officer receiving notice of an invasion or the approach 
of any vessel with hostile purpose, & not forwarding the same to 


his commanding ofificer shall forfeit, if a field officer one hundred 
pounds, if a captain or subaltern fifty pounds ; any commanding 
officer of a county receiving such notice & not raising part of his 
militia nor taking the advice of his council of war two hundred 
pounds, recoverable with costs by action of debt in the name of 
the Commonwealth before any court of record, & appropriated to 
the same uses as the fines imposed by the courtmartial of his 

Any officer or soldier, guilty of mutiny, desertion, disobedience 
of command, absence from duty or quarters, neglect of guard, or 
cowardice, shall be punished at the discretion of a courtmartial 
by degrading, cashiering, drumming out of the army, whipping 
not exceeding 20 lashes, fine not exceeding two months, or impris- 
onment not exceeding one month. 

Such courtmartial shall be constituted of militia officers only, 
of the rank of Captains or higher, & shall consist of 7 members at 
the least whereof one shall be a county lieutenant or field officer, 

each of whom shall take the following oath : ' I do swear 

that I will well & truly try & impartially determine the cause of 
the prisoner now to be tried, according to the act of assembly for 
providing against invasions & insurrections so help me god,' 
which oath shall be administered to the presiding officer by the 
next in command, & then by such presiding officer to the other 
members. The said court shall also appoint a clerk to enter and 
preserve their proceedings, to whom the president shall administer 
an oath truly and faithfully to execute the duties of his office. 
All persons called to give evidence shall take the usual oath of 
evidence, to be administered by the clerk of the court. If in any 
case the offender be not arrested before the corps of militia on 
duty be discharged, or cannot be tried for want of members 
sufficient to make a court, he shall be subject to be tried after- 
wards by the courtmartial of his county. 

All other acts & ordinances so far as they make provisions 
against invasions & insurrections are hereby repealed. 

This act shall be read to every company of the militia by order 
of the captain or next commanding officer twice in every year, 
that is to say, at their first muster next succeeding every general 
muster in his county on penalty of five pounds for every omission. 

128 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 


[May 12, 1777.] 
Be it enacted by the General assembly of the Commonwealth 
of Virginia that there shall be annually chosen five delegates to 
act the part of this Commonwealth in General Congress any three 
of whom shall have power to sit & vote. The delegates to be 
chosen in this present session of assembly shall continue in office 
till the day of and those hereafter to be chosen at the 

said annual election shall enter on the exercise of their office on 
the day of next succeeding their election & shall 

continue in the same one year, unless sooner recalled or per- 
mitted to resign by General assembly ; in which case another shall 
be chosen to serve till the end of the year in the stead of any one 
so recalled, or permitted to resign. 

No person who shall have served two years in Congress shall 
be capable of serving therein again till he shall have been out of 
the same one whole year. 

' The delegation of Virginia in the Continental Congress was the origin of 
intense factional struggle and intrigue in both the Congress and in the House 
of Delegates. John Adams states ( Works, in, 31) : " Jealousies and divisions 
appeared among the delegates of no State, more remarkably than among those 
of Virginia." In the Virginia Assembly R. H.Lee had antagonized the planter 
interest, by his course on the accounts of Treasurer Robinson, and that class 
had set up Benjamin Harrison as their representative. In 1776 by the in- 
fluence and votes of the Lee party Harrison and Braxton were left out of the 
delegation, by means which a member of the neutral party (Pendleton) claimed 
to be " disgraceful." The former on his return to Virginia secured an election 
to the vacancy caused by the resignation of Jefferson ; but on Wythe's retire- 
ment the Lees succeeded in filling his seat with one of their own interest, Mann 
Page. In turn the Harrison faction began a counter attack on R. H. Lee, but 
apparently first attempted to veil it under a general act of the assembly. For 
this purpose. May 12, 1777, they ordered the preparation of a bill regulating 
the appointment of delegates, and named Jefferson alone to draft it — the only 
case I have discovered of a single individual being so selected. He was already 
pledged, by his resolution offered in the Continental Congress (ante, p. 61) to a 
limited term of two years for this office ; and a bill prepared on these lines 
would legislate Lee out of office. On May 12th he reported this draft of a bill, 
and after a severe struggle it was committed to the Committee of the Whole by 


Each of the said delegates for every day he shall attend in 
Congress shall receive [eight] dollars, and also [fifteen pence] per 
mile going and the same returning together with his ferriages, to 
be paid wherever Congress shall be sitting by the Treasurer of 
this Commonwealth out of any public monies which shall be in 
his hands. 


WiLLIAMSBURGH, l6 May, 1777. 

Matters in our part of the continent are too much 
in quiet to send you news from hence. Our battalions 
for the continental service were some time ago so far 
filled as rendered the recommendation of a draught 
from the militia hardly requisite, and the more so as 
in this country it ever was the most unpopular and 
impracticable thing that could be attempted. Our 
people, even under the monarchical government, had 

a vote of only 42 to 40. It was here discussed and amended on the 14th and 15th, 
and on the i6th was passed by the Delegates. In the Senate it was amended 
and returned, on May 21st the Delegates amended the Senate amendments, 
which were concurred in by the Senate, and it became a law. Lee, though " it 
was impossible ... to avoid feeling the immediate ill treatment that I had 
received " " from a wicked industry, the most false and most malicious that the 
deceitful heart of man ever produced," seemed to have felt no ill-will toward 
Jefferson for his part in the affair. He returned to Virginia to secure an 
election to the House of Delegates, " was left out of the last chosen convention, 
but . . . harangued the people of the back Country, in the field & bought off 
one of their representatives to decline, payed his fine, to procure His return in his 
stead. Returned to the convention, His Brothers, by threats & Cabals, pro- 
cured his appointment to General Congress." {Stevens Mss. No. 277.) At 
the same session of the legislature he secured the introduction of a new bill 
dealing with this question, of which apparently Jefferson was likewise the 
drafter, and which is printed in the Session Acts for 1778, p. 20, and in the 
Report of the Revisers, p. 9. Cf. The Bland Papers, i, 57. The text of the 
present bill as amended and adopted is given in the Session Acts for 1777, p. 17, 
and in I/ening, x, 383. 

• From the Works of John Adams, ix, 465. 



learnt to consider it as the last of all oppressions. I 
learn from our delegates that the confederation is 
again on the carpet, a great and a necessary work, 
but I fear almost desperate. The point of representa- 
tion is what most alarms me, as I fear the great and 
small colonies are bitterly determined not to cede. 
Will you be so good as to collect the proposition I 
formerly made you in private, and try if you can work 
it into some good to save our union ? It was, that 
any proposition might be negatived by the represen- 
tatives of a majority of the people of America, or of 
a majority of the colonies of America. The former 
secures the larger, the latter, the smaller colonies. I 
have mentioned it to many here. The good whigs, I 
think, will so far cede their opinions for the sake of 
the Union, and others we care little for. 

The journals of Congress not being printed earlier, 
gives more uneasiness than I would wish ever to see 
produced by any act of that body, from whom alone 
I know our salvation can proceed. In our Assembly, 
even the best affected think it an indignity to free- 
men to be voted away, life and fortune, in the dark. 
Our House have lately written for a manuscript copy 
of your journals, not meaning to desire a communica- 
tion of any thing ordered to be kept secret. I wish 
the regulation of the post-office, adopted by Congress 
last September, could be put in practice. It was for 
the travel night and day, and to go their several stages 
three times a week. The speedy and frequent com- 
munication of intelligence is really of great conse- 
quence. So many falsehoods have been propagated that 


nothing now is believed unless coming from Congress 
or camp. Our people, merely for want of intelligence 
which they may rely on, are become lethargic and 
insensible of the state they are in. Had you ever a 
leisure moment, I should ask a letter from you some- 
times, directed to the care of Mr. Dick, Fredericks- 
burgh ; but having nothing to give in return, it would 
be a tax on your charity as well as your time. The 
esteem I have for you privately, as well as for your 
public importance, will always render assurances of 
your health and happiness agreeable. I am, dear sir, 
your friend and servant. 


Virginia, August 13, 1777. 

Honorable Sir, — I forbear to write you news, as 
the time of Mr. Short's departure being uncertain, it 
might be old before you receive it, and he can, in per- 
son, possess you of all we have. With respect to the 
State of Virginia in particular, the people seem to have 
laid aside the monarchical, and taken up the republi- 
can government, with as much ease as would have at- 
tended their throwing off an old, and putting on a new 
suit of clothes. Not a single throe has attended this 
important transformation. A half-dozen aristocratical 
gentlemen, agonizing under the loss of pre-eminence, 
have sometimes ventured their sarcasms on our politi- 
cal metamorphosis. They have been thought fitter 

' From Washington's edition of Jefferson's writings. 

132 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

objects of pity, than of punishment. We are, at pres- 
ent, in the complete and quiet exercise of well-organ- 
ized government, save only that our courts of justice 
do not open till the fall. I think nothing can bring 
the security of our continent and its cause into danger, 
if we can support the credit of our paper. To do that, 
I apprehend, one of two steps must be taken. Either 
to procure free trade by alliance with some naval power 
able to protect it ; or, if we find there is no prospect 
of that, to shut our ports totally, to all the world, and 
turn our colonies into manufactories. The former 
would be most eligible, because most conformable to 
the habits and wishes of our people. Were the British 
Court to return to their senses in time to seize the 
little advantage which still remains within their reach, 
from this quarter, I judge, that, on acknowledging our 
absolute independence and sovereignty, a commercial 
treaty beneficial to them, and perhaps even a league 
of mutual offence and defence, might, not seeing the 
expense or consequences of such a measure, be ap- 
proved by our people, if nothing, in the mean time, 
done on your part, should prevent it. But they will 
continue to grasp at their desperate sovereignty, till 
every benefit short of that is forever out of their reach. 
I wish my domestic situation had rendered it possible 
for me to join you in the very honorable charge con- 
fided to you. Residence in a polite Court, society of 
literati of the first order, a just cause and an approv- 
ing God, will add length to a life for which all men 
pray, and none more than your most obedient and 
humble servant. 



Albemarle in Virga, Aug. 21, 1777. 

Dear Sir, — Your favor of May 26 came safely to 
hand. I wish it were in my power to suggest any 
remedy for the evil you complain of, tho' did any occur 
I should propose it to you with great diffidence after 
knowing you had thought on the subject yourself. 
There is indeed a fact which may not have come to 
your knolege out of which perhaps some little good 
may be drawn. The borrowing money in Europe (or 
obtaining credit there for necessaries) has already 
probably been essayed & it is supposed with some 
degree of success. But I expect your applications 
have as yet been only to France, Holland, or such other 
states as are of principal note. There is however a 
small power, well disposed to our cause, &, as I am 
informed, possessed of abilities to assist us in this 
way. I speak of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. 
The Httle states of Italy you know have had long 
peace, & shew no disposition to interrupt that peace 
shortly. The Grand Duke being somewhat avari- 
cious in his nature has availed himself of the oppor- 
tunity of collecting & hoarding what money he has 
been able to gather. I am informed from good 

authority (an officer who was concerned in the busi- 
ness of his treasury ') that about three years ago he 
had ten millions of crowns, lying dead in his coffers. 
Of this it is thought possible as much might be bor- 
rowed as would amount to a million of pounds lawful 

' Mazzei. 

134 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

money. At any rate the attempt might be worth 
making. Perhaps an application from Dr. FrankHn 
who has some acquaintance in that court might be 
sufficient, or, as it might be prudent to sound well 
before the application, in order to prevent the dis- 
credit of a rebuff, perhaps Congress would think it 
worth while to send a special agent there to negotiate 
the matter. I think we have a grentleman here who 
would do it with dexterity & fidelity. He is a native 
of that Duchy ; well connected there, conversant in 
courts of great understanding & equal zeal in our 
cause. He came over not long- since to introduce the 
cultivation of vines, olives, &c among us. Should 
you think the matter worth a further thought, either 
of the Cols. Lees to whom he is known can acquaint 
you more fully of his character. If the money can 
be obtained in specie it may be applied to reduce the 
quantity of circulating paper & be so managed as to 
help the credit of that which will remain in circulation. 
If credit alone can be obtained for the manufactures 
of the country, it will still help to clothe our armies 
or to increase at market the necessaries our people 

What upon earth can Howe mean by the manoeuvre 
he is now practicing ? There seems to me no object 
in this country which can be either of utility or reputa- 
tion to his cause. I hope it will prove of a piece 
with all the other follies they have committed. The 
forming a junction with the Northern army up the 
Hudson's river, or taking possession of Philadelphia 
might have been a feather in his cap, & given them 


a little reputation in Europe. The former as being 
the design with which they came, the latter as being 
a place of the first reputation abroad & the residence 
of Congress. Here he may destroy the little hamlet 
of Wmsbgh, steal a few slaves, & lose half his army 
among the fens & marshes of our lower country or 
by the heat of the climate. I am, dear sir, yours, &c. 


Thursday, Dec. 4, 1777. 

Mr. Jefferson reported, from the Committee appointed to draw 
up what is proper to be offered at the conference proposed with 
the Senate, on the subject matter of their amendments to the 
resolution of this House for paying to Thomas Johnson the sum 
of 15^ 5s 6d. that the committee had accordingly drawn up 
what they think would be proper to be offered at the said con- 
ference, which they had directed him to report to the said House ; 
he read the report in his place, and afterwards delivered it in at 
the clerks table, where the same was read and is as foUoweth, viz : 

The House of Delegates has desired this conference, in order 
to preserve that harmony and friendly correspondence with the 
Senate, which is necessary for the discharge of their joint duties 
of legislation, and to prevent, both now and in future, the delay 
of public business, and injury which may accrue to individuals, 
should the two Houses differ in opinion as to the distinct office 
of each. 

Though during the course of the last two, and also of the 
present session of Assembly, they have acquiesced, under some 
amendments made by the Senate to votes for allowing public 
claims and demands, yet they are of opinion that an adherence 
to fundamental principles is the most likely way to save both 

' This and the following paper are from the Journal of the House of Dele- 

136 THE WRITINGS OF [1777 

time and disagreement ; and a departure from them may at some 
time or other be drawn into precedent for dangerous innovations, 
and that therefore it is better for both Houses, and for those by 
whom they are entrusted, to correct the error while new, and 
before it becomes inveterate by habit and custom. 

The constitution having declared that " money bills shall in no 
instance be altered by the Senate, but wholly approved or 
rejected," the delegates are of opinion the Senate had no authority 
to amend their late vote for allowing to Thomas Johnson the sum 
of fifteen pounds five shillings and six pence ; and should the 
term "money bills " in the constitution not immediately convey 
the precise idea which the framers of that act intended to express, 
it is supposed that its explanation should be sought for in the 
institutions of that people, among whom alone a distinction be- 
tween money bills and other acts of legislation is supposed to 
have been made, and from whom we, and others, emigrating from 
them, have indisputably copied it. 

By the law and usage of their parliament then, all those are 
understood to be " money bills " which raise money in any way, 
or which dispose of it, and which regulate those circumstances of 
matter, method and time, which attend as of consequence on the 
right of giving and disposing. Again the law and customs of their 
parliament, which include the usage as to " money bills " are a 
part of the law of their land ; our ancestors adopted their system 
of law in the general, making from time to time such alterations 
as local diversities required ; but that part of their law which 
relates to the matter now in question, was never altered by our 
legislature, in any period of its history ; but on the contrary, the 
two Houses of Assembly, both under our regal and republican 
governments, have ever done business on the constant admission 
that the law of parliament was their law. When the delegates, 
therefore, vote that fifteen pounds five shillings and six pence, 
whether raised or to be raised on the people shall be disposed of 
in payment to Thomas Johnson for losses sustained by him on 
the public behalf, this is a vote for the disposal of money, which 
the Senate are at liberty to approve or reject in the whole, but 
cannot amend by altering the sum. 

The delegates, therefore, hope that the Senate will concur with 


them in a strict and mutual observance of those laws by which 
both houses are bound, and they are well assured, that this sub- 
ject being properly stated to the Senate, they will forbear in 
future, to exercise a practice which seems not authorised, but, if 
there should be found any difference of opinion on this point, the 
delegates will be ready to join in any regular proposition for defin- 
ing with precision, the subject of their difference, so as to prevent 
all doubts and delays in future. 


Friday, Jan. 9, 1778. 

Mr. Jefferson reported from the Committee, appointed to pre- 
pare reasons to be offered to the Senate, at the conference to be 
desired of them on the subject of the last conference ; that the 
committee had accordingly prepared, what they thought would be 
proper to be offered at the said conference ; and he read the same 
in his place, and afterwards delivered it in at the clerk's table, 
where the same was read, and is as followeth, viz : 

Reasons, to be offered at the conference to be desired of the 
Senate, in answer to their reasons delivered at the last conference : 

The House of Delegates, not being satisfied with the reasons 
urged by the Senate, in support of their amendments to the reso- 
lution for allowing Thomas Johnson the sum of 15;^ 5s. 6d., have 
desired this second conference to shew the insufficiency of the 
said reasons, and to propose that some expedient may be adopted 
by the two Houses, for reconciling their difference of opinion. 

The resemblance between the constituent parts of our legis- 
lature, and that of Great Britain, is supposed by the Senate, so 
faint, that no ground remains for those jealousies, which have 
prompted the Commons of Great Britain against their House of 
Lords. This might have been, and doubtless was, urged, at the 
time our constitution was formed, as a reason why the Senate and 
Delegates should have equal powers of money bills. But the 
argument having been overruled, and the powers of the Senate, 
as to this point, being fixed, by the constitution, on the same re- 
stricted footing, with those of the Lords in the British legislature. 

138 THE WRITINGS OF [1778 

it is conceived not to be the proper question of this day, whether 
the resemblance between them, in general, be faint or strong, well 
or ill-grounded, but, whether the constitution has not made them, 
to resemble in this point. 

Had those who framed the constitution, as soon as they had 
completed that work, been asked, man by man, what a money bill 
was, it is supposed that man by man, they would have referred 
for answer to the well known laws and usages of Parliament, or, 
would have formed their answer, on the Parliamentary idea of 
that term. Its import, at this day, must be the same as it was 
then. And it would be unreasonable, now, to send us to seek its 
definition in the subsequent proceedings of that body, as it would 
have been for them, at that day, to have referred us to such pro- 
ceedings before they had come into existence. The meaning of 
the term, must be supposed complete, at the time they use it ; and 
to be sought for, in those resources only, which existed at the 
time. Constructions, which do not result from the words of the 
legislator, but lie hidden in his breast, till called forth, ex post 
facto, by subsequent occasions, are dangerous, and not to be 
justified by ordinary emergencies. 

Nor do we, by this, set up the Parliament of England, as the 
expositor of our constitution, but the law of Parliament, as it 
existed, and was evidenced by usage, at the time the term in 
question was inserted in our instrument of government ; a law 
coeval with the common law itself, and no more liable, as adopted 
by us, to subsequent change, from that body, than their common 
or statute law, which we have in like manner adopted. To sup- 
pose this branch of law, not existing in our code, would shake 
the foundation of our whole legal system ; since every legislative 
proposition which has been passed or rejected since the first 
establishment of a legislature in this country, has been determined 
to be law, or not law, by the forms of Parliamentary proceeding. 

With as little justice may it be said, that this is referring for 
the definition of a term, to multiplied disputes, which have for 
ages agitated the Parliament of England, and which no time will 
decide ; that it is proving what is clear, by what is very obscure ; 
and unsettlingj what is fixed : since we conceive that researches 


into Parliamentary history, will decisively shew, that their prac- 
tice in this matter has been clear, fixed, and ancient ; and, that 
for ages past, it has produced no agitation, unless we call by that 
name some groundless assertions of the Lords in the course of 
the last century. Yet, these assertions they departed from in 
practice, at the very time they advanced them : and at all times 
after, they stand contradicted by the declarations of the Commons, 
and the constant usage of both Houses ; which, agreeing to- 
gether, are supposed to form the strongest evidence what the law 
of Parliament is on this point. 

To prove this right, as uniformly claimed and exercised by the 
Commons, and assented to in practice by the Lords, the Delegates 
will subjoin some proceedings of Parliament, in addition to the 
passage cited by the Senate. 

That a bill, for raising money by way of taxes, is a money bill, 
is admitted by the Senate, and need not therefore be proved. 

That bills, for raising money by rates, and impositions on mer- 
chandise, are also considered as money bills, will appear, on re- 
curring to the Parliamentary proceedings of 167 1, in which it is 
affirmed, "that there is a fundamental right in the House of 
Commons alone, in bills of rates and impositions on merchandise, 
as to the matter, the measure, and the time ; " and also, by their 
declaration of 1689, "that the Commons have always taken it for 
their undoubted privilege (of which they have been tender and 
jealous) that, in all aids given to the King by the Commons, the 
rate or tax ought not to be any way altered by the Lords," which 
is supposed to be the passage cited by the Senate, as of the year 

That bills, for applying forfeitures in aid of the public revenue 
are not amendable by the Lords, appears by the proceedings of 
1700, on the bill " for applying Irish forfeitures to the use of the 
public," to which the Lords were not permitted to make any 

The right of levying money, in whatever way, being thus exer- 
cised by the Commons, as their exclusive office, it follows, as a 
necessary consequence, that they may also exclusively direct its 
application. " Cujus est dare, ejus est disponere," is an elementary 


principle, both of law and of reason: That he who gives, may direct 
the application of the gift : or, in other words, may dispose of it : 
that if he may give absolutely, he may also carve out the condi- 
tions, limitations, purposes, and measure of the gift, seems as 
evidently true, as, that the greater power contains the lesser. 

Parliamentary usage, has accordingly, approved this reasoning. 

In J uly, 1678, the Commons resolved, " that it is their undoubted 
and sole right, to direct, limit, and appoint, in all aids and supplies 
granted to the King, the ends, purposes, considerations, limita- 
tions, and qualifications, of such grants ; which ought not to be 
changed by the House of Lords." 

In December of the same year, the Commons having directed 
the payment of money, and the Lords proposed an amendment 
thereto, the former declared " that their Lordships never before 
changed any such disposition made on a supply granted by the 

In 1701, the Lords having amended a bill, "for stating and ex- 
amining the public accounts," by inserting a clause for allowing 
a particular debt, the Commons disagreed to the amendment ; 
and declared for a reason, " that the disposition, as well as grant- 
ing, of money by act of Parliament, hath ever been in the House of 
Commons ; and, that the amendment relating to the disposal of 
money, does entrench upon that right." And, to a bill of the 
same nature, the year following, the Lords having proposed an 
amendment, and declared "That their right in granting, limiting, 
and disposing public aids, being the main hinge of the contro- 
versy, they thought it of the highest concern that it should be 
cleared and settled." They then go on to prove the usage, by 
precedents, and declarations, and, from these conclude, " That 
the limitation, disposition, and manner of account, belong only 
to them." 

In reply, the Lords said, " They declined all arguments con- 
cerning the rights of the Commons in granting, limiting and 
disposing public aids ; and, therefore, forbore to answer any ar- 
guments of that kind ; but proceeded to insist that the business 
then depending was of quite another nature. And, at some sub- 
sequent conferences between the two Houses, during the same 


session, it was repeatedly declared, " That the Lords could not 
supply any deficiency, or apply any surplusage of the public 
money, and in case any should be found." And this declaration 
does not appear to have been contradicted by the Lords, either 
then or at any time after. 

The precedents are supposed to prove, not only that the dis- 
posal or application of public money is, equally with the raising 
of it, the exclusive office of the Commons, but also, that it makes 
no difference whether it be of money then actually in the treasury, 
or yet to be raised on the people ; nor whether the raising and 
disposing be in the same or in separate bills. 

Though the precedents referred to by the Senate, in the proceed- 
ings of the Council and House of Burgesses, in the years 1771, 
1772, and 1773, (the first of which, however, we suppose to be 
mistaken for 1772) might perhaps be well accounted for from 
their particular nature, from the history of the times, or from 
other causes ; and though the delegates might produce, from the 
same records, proofs, much more decisive in their favor, yet they 
decline resting the matter on that bottom : because, they are of 
opinion, that the present determination ought not to be influenced 
by the practice of those who have themselves only copied from 
the same original. Their practice, and our opinions, must be 
proved by the same common rule, — the law and practice of Par- 
liament. Their acknowledgment of the rule, proves their sub- 
mission to it, and that their practice should be tried by the law, 
and not the law by their practice. 

How dangerous it is to appeal to other authorities from the 
Parliamentary records, the true text of decision, will appear also 
by examining the whole passage, of which a part only was cited 
from the Commentaries of Judge Blackstone ; a writer, celebrated 
indeed ; but, whether most for his attachment to the prerogatives 
of the crown, or to the rights of the people, would be worthy of 
consideration, where the question is on one of those rights, which 
have been of the greatest value to the people — the right of giving 
and disposing of their own money. That writer, after the defini- 
tion cited from his book by the Senate, goes on to quote a pas- 
sage from Judge Hale's treatise on the jurisdiction of Parlia- 

142 THE WRITINGS OF [1778 

ment, which is to be found more at large in Broke's Abridgement, 
under the title " Parliament, PI. 4 : " there it appears to be a say- 
ing of Kerbie, a clerk of the Parliament, who lays down in ex- 
press terms, or by direct implication, these following positions, as 
of the law of Parliament : — 

ist. That the Lords may amend a bill for granting aids. 

2nd. That, if the amendment be by shortening the duration of 
the grant, they need not return the bill to the Commons for their 

3rd. That the King may alter a bill. 

Broke indeed adds a quere to the case ; but that Judge Black- 
stone, disapproved of it, cannot be inferred from his words. It 
is therefore submitted to the consideration of the Senate, whether 
they would set up as an arbiter of Parliamentary law, a writer who 
can cite or refer to such positions, whether condemning them, in 
decisive and unequivocal terms ; for that part of his book, too, 
which the Senate quote and rely on, he cites no authority what- 
ever. Are we then to take it upon his affirmation, when contra- 
dicted by the uniform current of Parliamentary usage? But, 
waiving further examination of the legality of his opinion, it suf- 
fices to observe, as a full answer to it, that the judges of the com- 
mon law can take no cognizance of the law of Parliament. It 
can never come judicially in question before them. Their sayings 
or opinions on the subject, must be ever extra-judicial ; and they 
have accordingly always disclaimed a right to give judgment on 
them. Definitions therefore, of Parliamentary law, by any other 
court, by a member of court, or by a private individual, must be 
rejected as inauthoritative in a Parliamentary disquisition. 

For these reasons, the delegates still think, that the Senate 
have no authority to amend the vote in question. But open to 
conviction, if it can be shown they are wrong, and actuated by a 
strong desire to promote the public service, as well as to preserve 
the Constitution entire, they propose to the Senate, if they should 
still adhere to their former opinions, that a select committee may 
be appointed by each House, to meet together in full conference, 
and endeavor to define the office of the two Houses in bills, 
clauses, and votes, relating to money, and that such definition, if 
approved by both Houses, may be confirmed by act of Assembly. 




[Jan. 13, 1778.] 
Whereas the present war between America & Great Britain was 
undertaken for defence of the common rights of the American 
states, & it is therefore just that each of them, when in danger, 
should be aided by the joint exertions of all ; and as on any in- 
vasion of this Commonwealth in particular, we should hope for, 
& expect, necessary aids of militia from our neighboring sister 
states, so it is incumbent on us to yield the same assistance to 
them, under the like circumstances ; & the laws heretofore em- 
powering the Governor & council to send aids of militia to such 
states, will expire at the end of this present session of assembly. 

Be it therefore enacted by the General assembly that on the 
invasion of any adjacent or neighboring state, & application from 
Congress, or from the legislative or executive powers of such 
state for aids of militia, it shall be lawful for the Governor, with 
the advice of the council of state, to order to their assistance 
such corps of the militia from any of the counties of this com- 
monwealth as the exigence of the case may require or admit ; 
having regard in such orders to the convenience & vicinity of 
such counties to the place invaded, their internal security & the 
imminence of the danger : and moreover to appoint such general, 
field & staff officers as may be requisite to command, attend, & 
provide for the same ; to have them furnished with necessaries 
for travelling & camp uses, & such arms, ammunition and ac- 
coutrements as may be called for if the same can be procured & 
spared from this Commonwealth. 

And to answer the expenses hereof in the first instance, the 
Governor is empowered to draw for any sums of money necessary 
to carry these purposes into effect on the Treasurer for this com- 
monwealth, who is hereby authorized to pay the same out of any 
public money in his hands, keeping a separate & distinct account 
thereof, in order that the same may be reimbursed to the Com- 
monwealth. __^ 

' Reported by William Fleming, Jan. 13, 1778, and read the first time. Read 
the second time and committed to the Committe of the Whole, Jan. 14th. 
Passed on Jan. 22d. Printed from the draft in Jefferson's handwriting. 



Such militia while on duty shall be subject to the Continental 
rules & articles of discipline & government, save only that all 
courtsmartial, whether general or regimental, which shall be holden 
on any of them, shall consist of their own officers only. 

This act shall be in force until the end of the next session of 
General assembly & no longer. 


[Jan. 20, 1778.] 
Whereas by the acts constituting the High court of Chancery & 
General court, the said courts are to be holden at such place as the 
legislature shall direct, & no place hath as yet been appointed for 
that purpose : 

Be it therefore enacted by the General assembly that for the 
term of one year after the end of this present session of assembly, 
& from thence to the end of the session next ensuing, the said 
courts shall be holden in the Capitol in the city of Williamsburgh. 
And be it further enacted that it shall be lawful for the said 
High court of Chancery to appoint from time to time their own 
Serjeant at arms who shall be attendant on the sd court to per- 
form the duties of his office ; for which he shall receive such fees 
as shall be allowed by law. 


OFFENDERS.' v.s.a. 

[May 14, 1778.] 
Whereas the American Congress by their resolution passed on 
the 23d day of April last past, reciting that persuasion & influence, 
the example of the deluded or wicked, the fear of danger or the 

' In drawing the bills establishing these two courts, the place of holding had 
been purposely omitted, as the " western " party hoped to remove them, with 
the capitol, to Richmond. This was therefore merely a temporary measure. 

^On May 13th leave was given to Jefferson, Page, Lawson, and Meriwether 
Smith to prepare this bill, which was introduced by Jefferson, and read for the 
first and second times on May 14th. It was read for the third time and passed by 


calamities of war, may have induced some of the subjects of these 
states to join, aid, or abet the British forces in America, and who, 
the' now desirous of returning to their country, may be deterred 
by the fear of punishment : and that the people of these states are 
ever more ready to reclaim than to abandon, to mitigate than to 
increase the horrors of war, to pardon than to punish offenders : 
did recommend to the legislatures of the several states to pass 
laws, or to the executive authority of each state, if invested with 
sufificient power, to issue proclamations, offering pardon, with such 
exceptions, and under such limitations and restrictions, as they 
shall think expedient, to such of their inhabitants or subjects, as 
have levied war against any of these states, or adhered to, aided 
or abetted the enemy, and shall surrender themselves to any civil 
or military officer of any of these states, & shall return to the state 
to which they may belong before the loth day of June next : and 
did further recommend to the good & faithful citizens of these 
states to receive such returning penitents with compassion and 
mercy, & to forgive & bury in oblivion their past failings and 

Be it therefore enacted by the General assembly that full and 
free pardon is hereby granted to all such persons without any ex- 
ception who shall surrender themselves as aforesaid, and shall take 
the oath of fidelity to this Commonwealth within one month after 
their return thereto. 


[May 19, 1778.] 
Whereas divers persons receiving money of the United States 
of America for publick uses, apply it to different purposes, and 
when called on refuse or neglect to repay the same ; others enter 

the House of Delegates on May i8th, but was thrown out in the Senate. It is 
printed from the draft in Jefferson's handwriting. 

' On May iBth the House of Delegates adopted a resolution for the prepara- 
tion of this bill, and appointed Carter, Parker, and Jefferson to prepare it. It 
was introduced by Parker, May igth, when it was read for the first time. It was 
adopted May 2ist. This is printed from the original in Jefferson's handwriting, 
the act as adopted being in Nening, ix, 462. 

VOL. I. — 10 

146 THE WRITINGS OF [1778 

into contracts for supplying the army & navy of the United 
states with provision and other necessaries, & fail or refuse to 
comply therewith ; and whereas in like cases respecting this 
commonwealth in particular, speedy remedy was given by an act 
of general assembly passed in the year 1777, intitled "an act to 
establish a mode for the speedy and summary recovery of such 
sums of money as are or may become due, & for enforcing all 
contracts entered into with government " and it is expedient that 
the same speedy remedy be given in like cases respecting the 
United states : Be it therefore enacted by the general assembly 
that where in any case a remedy is by the sd act given to this 
commonwealth, or any of its agents or contractors, in a like case 
the same remedy shall be given to the United States, their agents 
& contractors ; and where by the sd act such proceedings are 
directed to be instituted by the Treasurer in the name of the 
Governor for the time being, in a like case respecting the United 
states the proceedings shall be instituted by their deputy pay- 
master general within this commonwealth and in the name of 
the President of Congress for the time being. 

PUBLIC exigencies/ v. s. a. 

[May 20, 1778.] 

Whereas in order to carry into effect the several acts passed at 
this present session of General assembly for raising a regiment of 
horse, for raising a battalion of infantry for garrison duty, for 
raising volunteers to join the grand army 

' A committee was appointed May i6, 1778, to prepare this bill ; and it was 
reported by Carter to the House of Delegates May 20th, and read for a first time. 
The next day R. C. Nicholas and John Page were given permission to bring 
in a new bill, in the shape of an amendment to this, which they did the follow- 
ing day, and the second bill was accepted and passed on May 23d. This is the 
first bill and is taken from the draft in Jefferson's handwTiting. 


And as it will be necessary to make a further emission of 
treasury notes and to provide for the redemption 
thereof ; be it enacted by the General assembly that it shall be 
lawful for the Treasurer to issue treasury notes in dollars or 
parts of a dollar for any sum which may be requisite for the pur- 
poses aforesaid in addition to the sums issuable by former acts 
of assembly, so as the sd sum to be issued by 
authority of this act do not exceed hundred thou- 
sand dollars. And he shall cause the sd to be engraved & 
printed in such manner & on such paper as he shall judge most 
likely to secure the same from being counterfeited, and shall 
appoint proper persons to overlook the press, & to number and 
sign the notes upon the best terms on which he can procure them, 
and whereas there is reason to believe that the taxes 
imposed by an act passed at the last session of 
General assembly for raising a supply of money for publick 
exigencies will be more than sufficient to answer the purposes 
expressed in the sd act ; be it further enacted that after the taxes 
which shall be levied by authority of the sd act shall have effected 
the purposes to which they are appropriated by the sd act, so 
much of what shall remain as shall be sufficient for the redemp- 
tion of the notes to be issued by authority of this present act, 
shall be applied to that purpose, and if so much as shall be suffi- 
cient shall not remain, further provision shall be made by law for 
making good the deficiency and redeeming the whole before the 
first day of December which shall be in the year of our lord 1785. 
Amendments to the supply of exigencies 

3. For recruiting the Continental army & other purposes therein 

4. Insert the resolutions of the 29th May, 1778, for making 
good the losses of certain sufferers in the town of Norfolk. 

10. Fill up the blank with the word " six." 

14. X [Inclosure] 

X If any person shall counterfeit any of the treasury notes issued 
by authority of this act, or shall be accessory thereto, or shall 
pass any such counterfeited note knowing the same to be counter- 
feit, he shall on conviction thereof suffer death without benefit 
of clergy. 

148 THE WRITINGS OF [1778 


EXIGENCIES." ^ V. s. A. 

[May 21. 1778.] 
Whereas, by an act of the last session of the General Assembly 
entitled an act for raising a supply of money for public exigen- 
cies it was enacted that a tax or rate of ten shillings for every 
hundred pounds value should be paid among other things upon 
all slaves by the owner or proprietor ; and that the value of such 
slaves should be estimated by assessors to be appointed in every 
hundred : and it hath been already seen that such valuation will 
be very unequal, slaves of the same value being estimated at 
three or four times more in some places than in others, insomuch 
that the sd tax on this particular is like to be very heavy on some 
citizens of this commonwealth and light on others which is un- 
equal and unjust and it is believed that if one certain rate by 
the head be fixed on, all slaves bearing the same proportion to 
their average value as the said pound rate bore to their respec- 
tive values, it will be more equal in the whole, it being supposed 
that in most parcels of slaves there will be nearly the same 
proportion of valuable & of indifferent. 

Be it therefore enacted by the General assembly that as well 
for the present as the remaining years of the term during which 
the sd act is to continue in force a tax of fifteen shillings by the 
head shall be paid on all slaves of whatever age or sex, in lieu of 
the sd rate of ten shillings in every hundred pounds value ; and 
in like manner the double of the sd tax by those who by the sd 
act were to pay a double rate. And when the assessors shall have 
noted therein the number of slaves for which they shall have as- 
sessed a pound rate on the proprietor the commissioners shall 
extend against such proprietor the tax aforesd in lieu of the 
pound rate on the sd slaves extended by the assessors ; and where 

' On May 2ist Nicholas and Page were appointed to prepare this bill, which 
they introduced on the same day, and it was read for the first time. On May 
22d it was read for a second time and committed to a committee of the whole 
house. They reported it back, with amendments, on May 26th, and it was 
adopted May 29th. This is printed from the draft in Jefferson's handwriting. 
The bill as passed is in the Session Acts for 1778, and Hening, IX, 456. 


they shall not have so noted the number of slaves they shall be 
required by the sd Commissioners forthwith to do it. And if any 
person shall have paid such pound rate before notice of this act if 
the same were greater than the tax hereby imposed he may require 
the sheriff to refund the difference or overplus and on failure 
may recover the same before any justice if the sum be under 
twenty-five shillings, and if it amount to that sum then on motion 
before any court giving such sheriff ten days notice thereof : and 
if the pound rate so paid were less than the tax hereby imposed, 
then the sheriff shall collect the difference or deficiency in like 
manner as by the sd act he was authorized to collect the sd 
pound rate. And doubts having arisen where slaves are hired 
whether the sd pound rate should be paid by the owner or hirer, 
and as a like doubt may arise as to the tax hereby imposed, it 
is declared that the sd tax is paiable by the owner, unless other- 
wise settled by contract between the parties. 


v. S. A. 

[May 28, 1778.] 
Whereas a certain Josiah Philips, labourer, of the parish of 
Lynhaven and county of Princess Anne together with divers 
other inhabitants of the counties of Princess Anne & Norfolk and 
citizens of this commonwealth contrary to their fidelity associat- 
ing and confederating together have levied war against this Com- 

' This bill, printed from the draft in Jefferson's handwriting, was introduced 
and read for the first time May 28th ; read a second time and passed on the next 
day. It was a violation of article 8 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and 
was afterwards cited by Edmund Randolph (Debates, Virginia Convention of 
1788, Elliot, in, 66) as such, in the following words : " There is one example 
of this violation in Virginia, of a most striking and shocking nature, — an example 
so horrid, that, if I conceived my country would passively permit a repetition of 
it, dear as it is to me, I would seek means of expatriating myself from it. A 
man who was then a citizen, was deprived of his life thus : from a mere reliance 
on general reports, a gentleman in the House of Delegates informed the house 
that a certain man (Josiah Philips) had committed several crimes, and was run- 
ning at large perpetrating other crimes. He therefore moved leave to attaint 
him ; he obtained that leave instantly ; no sooner did he obtain it, than he drew 



monwealth, within the same, committing murders, burning houses, 
wasting farms and still continue to exercise the same enormities 
on the good people of this commonwealth : and whereas the de- 
lays which would attend the proceeding to outlaw the said offend- 
ers according to the usual forms and procedures of the courts of 
law, would leave the said good people for a long time exposed to 
murder & devastation. 

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly that if the 
said Josiah Philips his associates and confederates shall not on 

from his pocket a bill ready written for that effect ; it was read three times in 
one day and carried to the Senate. I will not say that it passed the same day 
through the Senate ; but he was attainted very speedily and precipitately, with- 
out any proof better than these vague reports. "Without being confronted with 
his accusers and witnesses, without the privilege of calling evidence on his 
behalf, he was sentenced to death, and was afterwards actually executed." To 
this Henry replied {^Elliot, III, 140): " The honorable member has given you an 
elaborate account of what he judges tyrannical legislation, and an ex post facto 
law, (in the case of Josiah Philips). He has misrepresented the facts. That 
man was not executed by a tyrannical stroke of power. Nor was he a Socrates. 
He was a fugitive murderer and an outlaw — a man who commanded an infa- 
mous banditti, and at a time when the war was at the most perilous stage. He 
committed the most cruel and shocking barbarities. He was an enemy to the 
human name. Those who declare war against the human race may be struck 
out of existence as soon as they are apprehended. He was not executed accord- 
ing to those beautiful legal ceremonies which are pointed out by the laws in 
criminal cases. The enormity of his crimes did not entitle him to it. I am 
truly a friend to legal forms and methods ; but, sir, the occasion warranted the 
measure. A pirate, an outlaw, or a common enemy to all mankind, may be 
put to death at any time. It is justified by the laws of nature and nations." 

Jefferson's attention was first called to these statements in reading the proof 
sheets of Girardin's History of Virginia. He at once wrote to Girardin 
(March 12, 1815) : 

" I return the three Cativers, which I have perused with the usual satisfaction. 
You will find a few pencilled notes merely verbal. 

"But in one place I have taken a greater liberty than I ever took before, or 
ever indeed had occasion to take. It is in the case of Josiah Philips, which I 
find strangely represented by Judge Tucker and Mr. Edmund Randolph, and 
very negligently vindicated by Mr. Henry. That case is personally known to 
me, because I was of the legislature at the time, was one of those consulted by 
Mr. Henry, and had my share in the passage of the bill. I never before saw 
the observations of those gentlemen, which you quote on this case, and will now 
therefore briefly make some strictures on them. 


or before the day of June in this present year render them- 

selves to the Governor or to some member of the privy council, 
judge of the General court, justice of the peace or commissioned 
officer of the regular troops, navy, or militia of this common- 
wealth in order to their trials for the treasons, murders & other 
felonies by them committed, that then such of them the said 
Josiah Philips his associates and confederates as shall not so 
render him or themselves, shall stand and be convicted and at- 
tainted of high treason, and shall suffer the pains of death, and 

"Judge Tucker, instead of a definition of the functions of bills of attainder, 
has given a diatribe against their abuse. The occasion and proper office of a 
bill of attainder is thus : When a person charged with a crime withdraws from 
justice, or resists it by force, either in his own or a foreign country, no other 
means of bringing him to trial or punishment being practicable, a special act is 
passed by the legislature adapted to the particular case. This prescribes to him 
a sufficient time to appear and submit to a trial by his peers ; declares that his 
refusal to appear shall be taken as a confession of guilt, as in the ordinary case 
of an offender at the bar refusing to plead, and pronounces the sentence which 
would have been rendered on his confession or conviction in a court of law. No 
doubt that these acts of attainder have been abused in England as instruments 
of vengence by a successful over a defeated party. But what institution is 
insusceptible of abuse in wicked hands? 

"Again, the judge says 'the court refused to pass sentence of execution 
pursuant to the direction of the act. ' The court could not refuse this, because 
it was never proposed to them ; and my authority for this assertion shall be 
presently given. 

" For the perversion of a fact so intimately known to himself, Mr. Randolph 
can be excused only by our indulgence for orators who, pressed by a powerful 
adversary, lose sight, in the ardor of conflict of the rigorous accuracies of fact, 
and permit their imagination to distort and color them to the views of the 
moment. He was Attorney-General at the time, and told me himself, the first 
time I saw him after the trial of Philips, that when taken and delivered up to 
justice, he had thought it best to make no use of the act of attainder, and to take 
no measure under it ; that he had indicted him at the common law either for 
murder or robbery (I forgot which and whether for both) ; that he was tried on 
this indictment in the ordinary way, found guilty by the jury, sentenced and 
executed under the common law ; a course which every one approves, because 
the first object of the act of attainder was to bring him to fair trial. Whether 
Mr. Randolph was right in this information to me, or when in the debate with 
Mr. Henry, he represents this atrocious offender as sentenced and executed 
under the act of attainder, let the record of the case decide. 

" ' Without being confronted with his accusers and witnesses, without the privi- 

152 THE WRITINGS OF [1778 

incur all forfeitures, penalties & disabilities prescribed by the 
law against those convicted & attainted of High-treason : and 
that execution of this sentence of attainder shall be done by order 
of the General Court to be entered so soon as may be conveni- 
ently after notice that any of the said offenders are in custody 
of the keeper of the public gaol, and if any person committed to 
the custody of the keeper of the public gaol, as an associate or 
confederate of the sd Josiah PhiHps shall alledge that he hath 
"not been of his associates or confederates at any time after the 

lege of calling for evidence in his behalf, he was sentenced to death, and after- 
wards actually executed.' I appeal to the universe to produce one single 
instance from the first establishment of government in this State to the present 
day, where, in a trial at bar, a criminal has been refused confrontation with his 
accusers and witnesses, or denied the privilege of calling for evidence in his 
behalf ; had it been done in this case, I would have asked of the Attorney- 
General why he proposed or permitted it. But without having seen the record, 
1 will venture on the character of our courts, to deny that it was done. But if 
Mr. Randolph meant only that Philips had not these advantages on the passage 
of the bill of attainder, how idle to charge the legislature with omitting to con- 
front the culprit with his witnesses, when he was standing out in arms and in 
defiance of their authority, and their sentence was to take effect only on his own 
refusal to come in and be confronted. We must either therefore consider this 
as a mere hyperbolism of imagination in the heat of debate, or what I should 
rather believe, a defective statement by the reporter of Mr. Randolph's argu- 
ment. I suspect this last the rather because this point in the charge of Mr. 
Randolph is equally omitted in the defence of Mr. Henry. This gentleman 
must have known that Philips was tried and executed under the common law, 
and yet, according to his report, he rests his defence on a justification of the 
attainder only. But all who knew Mr. Henry, know that when at ease in argu- 
ment, he was sometimes careless, not giving himself the trouble of ransacking 
either his memory or imagination for all the topics of his subject or his audience 
that of hearing them. No man on earth knew better when he had said enough 
for his hearers. 

" Mr. Randolph charges us with having read the bill three times in the same 
day. I do not remember the fact, nor whether this was enforced on us by the 
urgency of the ravages of Philips, or of the time at which the bill was intro- 
duced. I have some idea it was at or near the close of the session ; the jour- 
nals, which I have not, will ascertain the fact. 

"After the particular strictures I will proceed to propose, 1st, that the word 
'substantially,' page 92, 1. 8., be changed for 'which has been charged 
with' (subjoining a note of reference, i. Tucker's Blackst. Append., 292. 
Debates of Virginia Convention). 


day of in the year of our lord at which time the sd 
murders & devastations were begun, a petty jury shall be sum- 
moned & charged according to the forms of the law to try in 
presence of the said court the fact so alledged ; and if it be found 
against the defendant, execution of this act shall be done as be- 
fore directed. 

And that the good people of this commonwealth may not in the 
mean-time be subject to the unrestrained hostilities of the said 
insurgents, be it further enacted that from and after the passing 

" 2. That the whole of the quotations from Tucker, Randolph and Henry, be 
struck out, and instead of the text beginning page 92 1. 12, with the words 
'bills of attainder, &c.,' to the words 'so often merited,' page 95 1. 4, be 
inserted the following, to-wit : 

" ' This was passed on the following occasion. A certain Joshua Philips, la- 
borer of the parish of Lynhaven, in the county of Princess Anne, a man of 
daring and ferocious disposition, associating with other individuals of a similar 
cast, spread terror and desolation through the lower country, committing mur- 
ders, burning houses, wasting farms, and perpetrating other enormities, at the 
bare mention of which humanity shudders. Every effort to apprehend him 
proved abortive. Strong in the number of his ruffian associates, or where 
force would have failed resorting to stratagem and ambush, striking the deadly 
blow or applying the fatal torch at the midnight hour, and in those places 
which their insulated situation left almost unprotected, he retired with impu- 
nity to his secret haunts, reeking with blood and loaded with plunder. [So 
far the text of Mr. Girardin is preserved.] The inhabitants of the counties 
which were the theatre of his crimes, never secure a moment by day or by 
night, in their fields or their beds, sent representations of their distresses to 
the governor, claiming the public protection. He consulted with some mem- 
bers of the legislature then sitting, on the best method of proceeding against 
the atrocious offender. Too powerful to be arrested by the sheriff and his 
posse comitatus, it was not doubted but an armed force might he sent to hunt 
and destroy him and his accomplices in their morasses and fastness wherever 
found. But the proceeding concluded to be most consonant with the forms 
and principles of our government, was that the legislature should pass an act 
giving him a reasonable but limited day to surrender himself to justice, and to 
submit to a trial by his peers. According to the laws of the land, to consider 
a refusal as a confession of guilt, and divesting him as an outlaw of the charac- 
ter of citizen, to pass on him the sentence prescribed by the law ; and the public 
officer being defied, to make every one his deputy, and especially those whose 
safety hourly depended on his destruction. The case was laid before the legis- 
lature, the proofs were ample, his outrages as notorious as those of the public 
enemy, and well known to the members of both houses from those counties. 

154 THE WRITINGS OF [1778 

of this act it shall be lawful for any person with or without orders, 
to pursue and slay the said Josiah Philips and any others who 
have been his associates or confederates at any time after the sd 
day of aforesaid and shall not have previously rendered him or 
themselves to any of the officers civil or military before described, 
or otherwise to take and deliver them to justice to be dealt with 
according to law. 

Provided that the person so slain be in arms at the time or en- 
deavoring to escape being taken. 

No one pretended then that the perpetrator of crimes who could successfully 
resist the officers of justice, should be protected in the continuance of them, by 
the privileges of his citizenship, and that baffling ordinary process, nothing ex- 
traordinary could be rightfully adopted to protect the citizens against him. No 
one doubted that society had a right to erase from the role of its members any 
one who rendered his own existence inconsistent with theirs ; to withdraw from 
him the protection of their laws, and to remove him from among them by ex- 
ile, or even by death if necessary. An enemy in lawful war, putting to death 
in cold blood the prisoner he has taken, authorizes retaliation, which would be 
inflicted with peculiar justice on the individual guilty of the deed, were it to 
happen that he should be taken. And could the murders and robberies of a 
pirate or outlaw entitle him to more tenderness? They passed the law, there- 
fore, and without opposition. He did not come in before the day prescribed ; 
continued his lawless outrages ; was afterwards taken in arms, but delivered 
over to the ordinary justice of the county. The Attorney-General for the com- 
monwealth, the immediate agent of the government, waiving all appeal to 
the act of attainder, indicted him at the common law as a murderer and rob- 
ber. He was arraigned on that indictment in the usual forms, before a jury 
of his vicinage, and no use whatever made of the act of attainder in any part 
of the proceedings. He pleaded that he was a British subject, authorized to 
bear arms by a commission from Lord Dunmore ; that he was therefore a mere 
prisoner of war, and under the protection of the law of nations. The court 
being of opinion that a commission from an enemy could not protect a citizen 
in deeds of murder and robbery, over-ruled his plea ; he was found guilty by 
his jury, sentenced by the court, and executed by the ordinary officer of justice, 
and all according to the forms and rules of the common law.' 

" I recommend an examination of the records for ascertaining the facts of this 
case, for although my memory assures me of the leading ones, I am not so cer- 
tain in my recollection of the details. I am not sure of the character of the 
particular crimes committed by Philips, or charged in his indictment, whether 
his plea of alien enemy was formally put in and over-ruled, what were the 
specific provisions of the act of attainder, the urgency which ca-used it to be 
lead three times in one day, if the fact were, &c., &c." 



Williamsburg, June 5, 1778, 

Dear Sir, — I am now to acknowledge the receipt 
of two of your favors, during the session of Assembly, 
but there being little to communicate to you, and that, 
being a busy time with me, has prevented my doing 
it sooner. The Assembly rose on Monday last ; 
their only act which can shortly aid our army, was 
one for raising a regiment of horse, which, I think, will 
be raised as fast as it can be accoutred. Another act 
they passed, will also produce aid to our army, I 
hope, but it will be some [delay ?] first ; it was for 
giving great encouragement to soldiers, and appoint- 
ing recruiting officers all over the country, to attend 
all publick places. By a third act, they foolishly 
repeated the experiment of raising volunteers ; the 
first attempt was pardonable, because its ill-success 
could not be foreseen ; the second is worse than ridicu- 
lous, because it may deceive our friends ; I am 
satisfied there will not be a company raised. I wish 
Congress would commute a good part of the infantry 
required from us, for an equivalent force in horse. 
This service opens us a new fund of young men, who 
have not yet stepped forth ; I mean those whose in- 
dolence or education, has unfitted them for foot ser- 
vice ; this may be worth your thinking of. We passed 
the bill of pardon, recommended by Congress, but the 
Senate rejected it. Your letter, about enlarging your 
powers over the confederation, was not proceeded on, 
because the nature of the enlargement was not chalked 

' From Lee's Life of A'. //., n, 187. 

156 THE WRITINGS OF [1778 

out by you so intelligibly as enabled the house to do 
anything, unless they had given a carteblanche. In- 
deed, I believe, that, had the alterations proposed 
been specified unless they had been mere form indeed, 
it mieht have been difficult to obtain their consent. 
A Frenchman arrived here a week ago, with a vast 
cargo of woolens, made and unmade, stockings, shoes, 
&c. fit for the army, fifty thousand weight of powder, 
and other articles ; the master had once sold the 
whole cargo, to the governor and council, for 5s 3p 
the livre, first cost ; but, on suggestions from some of 
our forestallers, and those from Maryland, he flew 
off. Our bay is clear of the enemy. Nothing new 
here. I set out for Albemarle, within a day or two. 
Mr. Harvie will be with you in about three weeks. 
My complements to your brethren of the delegation, 
and am, dear sir. Your friend and servant. 

TO . J. Mss. 

Williamsburg in Virginia, June 8, 1778. 

Sir, — Your letter of Sep. 15. 1777 from Paris comes 
safe to hand. We have not however had the pleasure 
of seeing Mr. De Cenis, the bearer of it in this coun- 
try, as he joined the army in Pennsylvania as soon as 
he arrived. I should have taken particular pleasure in 
serving him on your recommendation. From the kind 
anxiety expressed in your letter as well as from other 
sources of information we discover that our enemies 
have filled Europe with Thrasonic accounts of 
victories they had never won and conquests they were 


fated never to make. While these accounts alarmed 
our friends in Europe they afforded us diversion. We 
have long been out of all fear for the event of the 
war. I enclose you a list of the killed, wounded, and 
captives of the enemy from the commencement of 
hostilities at Lexington in April, 1775, until Novem- 
ber, 1777, since which there has been no event of any 
consequence. This is the best history of the war 
which can be brought within the compass of a letter. 
I believe the account to be near the truth, tho' it is 
difficult to get at the numbers lost by an enemy with 
absolute precision. Many of the articles have been 
communicated to us from England as taken from the 
official returns made by their General. I wish it 
were in my power to send you as just an account of 
our loss. But this cannot be done without an appli- 
cation to the war office which being in another county 
is at this time out of my reach. I think that upon 
the whole it has been about one half the number lost 
by them, in some instances more, but in others less. 
This difference is ascribed to our superiority in taking 
aim when we fire ; every soldier in our army having 
been intimate with his gun from his infancy. If there 
could have been a doubt before as to the event of the 
war it is now totally removed by the interposition of 
France, & the generous alliance she has entered into 
with us. Tho' much of my time is employed in the 
councils of America I have yet a little leisure to 
indulge my fondness for philosophical studies. I 
could wish to correspond with you on subjects of that 
kind. It might not be unacceptable to you to be in- 

158 THE WRITINGS OF [1778 

formed for instance of the true power of our climate 
as discoverable from the thermometer, from the force 
& direction of the winds, the quantity of rain, the 
plants which grow without shelter in winter &c. On 
the other hand we should be much pleased with co- 
temporary observations on the same particulars in 
your country, which will give us a comparative view 
of the two climates. Farenheit's thermometer is the 
only one in use with us, I make my daily observa- 
tions as early as possible in the morning & again 
about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, these generally show- 
ing the maxima of cold & heat in the course of 24 
hours. I wish 1 could gratify your Botanical taste ; 
but I am acquainted with nothing more than the first 
principles of that science ; yet myself & my friends 
may furnish you with any Botanical subjects which this 
country affords, and are not to be had with you ; and 
I shall take pleasure in procuring them when pointed 
out by you. The greatest difficulty will be the means 
of conveyance during the continuance of the war. 

If there is a gratification which I envy any peo- 
ple in this world, it is to your country its music. 
This is the favorite passion of my soul, & fortune 
has cast my lot in a country where it is in a state of 
deplorable barbarism. From the line of life in which 
we conjecture you to be, I have for some time lost 
the hope of seeing you here. Should the event prove 
so, I shall ask your assistance in procuring a substi- 
tute, who may be a proficient in singing, & on the 
Harpsichord. I should be contented to receive such 
an one two or three years hence, when it is hoped he 


may come more safely and find here a greater plenty 
of those useful things which commerce alone can 
furnish. The bounds of an American fortune will 
not admit the indulgence of a domestic band of 
musicians, yet 1 have thought that a passion for 
music might be reconciled with that economy 
which we are obliged to observe. I retain for instance 
among my domestic servants a gardener (Ortolans), 
a weaver (Tessitore di lino e lin), a cabinet maker 
(Stipeltaio) and a stone cutter (ScalpelHno laborante 
in piano)to which I would add a vigneron. In a country 
where like yours music is cultivated and practised by 
every class of men I suppose there might be found 
persons of those trades who could perform on the 
French horn, clarinet or hautboy & bassoon, so that 
one might have a band of two French horns, two 
clarinets, & hautboys & a bassoon, without enlarging 
their domestic expenses. A certainty of employ- 
ment for a half dozen years, and at the end of that 
time to find them if they choose a conveyance to 
their own country might induce them to come here 
on reasonable wages. Without meaning to give you 
trouble, perhaps it might be practicable for you in 
[your] ordinary intercourse with your people, to 
find out such men disposed to come to America. So- 
briety and good nature would be desirable parts of 
their characters. If you think such a plan practicable, 
and will be so kind as to inform me what will be 
necessary to be done on my part I will take care that 
it shall be done. The necessary expenses, when in- 
formed of them, I can remit before they are wanting, 

i6o THE WRITINGS OF [1778 

to any port in France, with which country alone we 
have safe correspondence. I am Sir with much 
esteem your humble servant. 


J. MSS. 

[June?, 1778.] 

Resolved unanimously that a proposition from the Enemy to 
all or any of these United States for Peace or truce separate from 
their Allies is insidious and inadmissable. 

Resolved unanimously that a proposition from the enemy for 
treating with any Assembly or Body of men in America other 
than the Congress of these United States is insidious and inad- 

Resolved unanimously that this Assembly will not listen to any 
Proposition nor suffer any Negotiation inconsistent with their 
National Faith and federal union. 

Resolved unanimously that this assembly will exert the utmost 
Power of the State to carry on the War with vigour and effect 
until Peace shall be obtained in a manner consistent with our 
National Faith and Federal Union. 


WiLLlAMSBURGH, June 9, 1778. 

Reverend Sir, — Mr. Madison I believe informed 
you by letter written some time ago that one of your 
boxes of books left in his care burst open in removing 

' This is endorsed in the handwriting of Edmund Pendleton: "Virginia 
V. Com:r Carhon [Carlisle] Caveat agt Treaty — I believe, but am not certain, 
these were the work of Mr. Jefferson in Spring 1778." No such resolutions 
appear on the yournal of the House of Delegates. 

2 From a copy courteously furnished by Hon. John Boyd Thacher, of Albany. 


it from the college to the president's house for greater 
security. This accident discovered them to be in a 
state of ruin. They had contracted a dampness & 
stuck together in large blocks, insomuch that they could 
not sometimes be separated without tearing the cover. 
I happened to be in town & was of opinion with Mr. 
Madison that it was necessary to overhaul them and 
give them air. Indeed we both thought — I think it 
would be for your interest to have them sold, as books 
are now in considerable demand here, and, packed as 
they are in boxes, they must sustain injury. There 
are many of them which I would be glad to take my- 
self at their Stirling cost and would remit you the 
money by the way of France. That cost might be 
fixed either by note from yourself, informing me what 
they cost you, or by the estimate of anybody here in 
whom you trust. Upon a presumption that you could 
not but approve of the proposal to have them disposed 
of & the money remitted, for the reasons before given 
& others which you may apprehend but would be 
improper for me to explain, I have taken the liberty 
of laying apart many of them for myself, leaving with 
Mr. Madison a catalogue of them, and ready to return 
them to him if you shall direct it. I shall be glad of 
your answer as soon as possible, and will gladly serve 
you in the care of any interest you may have left here. 
The reasons are obvious which restrain this letter to 
matters of business. As soon as the obstacles to 
friendly correspondence are removed I shall be glad 
at all times to hear from you. I am Reverend Sir 

Your friend & servant 


i62 THE WRITINGS OF [1778 


July 19. 1778. 

Dear Sir, — I sincerely congratulate you on the 
recovery of Philadelphia, and wish it may be found 
uninjured by the enemy — how far the interests of 
literature may have suffered by the injury or removal 
of the Orrery (as it is miscalled) the publick libraries, 
your papers & implements, are doubts which still ex- 
cite anxiety. We were much disappointed in Virginia 
generally on the day of the great eclipse, which proved 
to be cloudy. In Williamsburgh, where it was total, 
I understand only the beginning was seen. At this 
place which is in Lat. 38°-8' and Longitude West 
from Williamsburgh about i°-45' as is conjectured, 
eleven digits only were supposed to be covered, as 
it was not seen at all till the moon had advanced 
nearly one third over the sun's disc. Afterwards it 
was seen at intervals through the whole. The egress 
particularly was visible. It proved however of little 
use to me for want of a time piece that could be de- 
pended on ; which circumstance, together with the 
subsequent restoration of Philadelphia to you, has 
induced me to trouble you with this letter to remind 
you of your kind promise of making me an accurate 
clock ; which being intended for astronomical purposes 
only, I would have divested of all apparatus for strik- 
ing or for any other purpose, which by increasing it's 

' From the original in the possession of the Historical Society of Pennsyl- 


complication might disturb it's accuracy. A com- 
panion to it, for keeping seconds, and which might be 
moved easily, would greatly add to it's value. The 
theodolite, for which I spoke to you also, I can 
now dispense with, having since purchased a most 
excellent one. 

Writing to a philosopher, I may hope to be par- 
doned for intruding some thoughts of my own tho' 
they relate to him personally. Your time for two years 
past has, I believe, been principally employed in the 
civil government of your country. Tho' I have been 
aware of the authority our cause would acquire with 
the world from it's being known that yourself & Doct' 
Franklin were zealous friends to it and am myself duly 
impressed with a sense of the arduousness of govern- 
ment, and the obligation those are under who are able 
to conduct it, yet I am also satisfied there is an order 
of oreniusses above that obligation, & therefore ex- 
empted from it, nobody can conceive that nature ever 
intended to throw away a Newton upon the occupa- 
tions of a crown. It would have been a prodigality 
for which even the conduct of providence might have 
been arraigned, had he been by birth annexed to what 
was so far below him. Cooperating with nature in her 
ordinary economy we should dispose of and employ 
the geniusses of men according to their several orders 
and degrees. I doubt not there are in your country 
many persons equal to the task of conducting govern- 
ment : but you should consider that the world has but 
one Ryttenhouse, & that it never had one before. The 
amazing mechanical representation of the solar system 

1 64 THE WRITINGS OF [1778 

which you conceived & executed, has never been sur. 
passed by any but the work of which it is a copy. Are 
those powers then, which being intended for the eru- 
dition of the world are, Hke air and light, the world's 
common property, to be taken from their proper pur- 
suit to do the commonplace drudgery of governing a 
single state, a work which may be executed by men 
of an ordinary stature, such as are always & every- 
where to be found ? Without having ascended mount 
Sinai for inspiration, I can pronounce that the precept, 
in the decalogue of the vulgar, that they shall not 
make to themselves "the likeness of anything that is 
in the heavens above " is reversed for you, and that 
you Mnll fulfill the highest purposes of your creation 
by employing yourself in the perpetual breach of that 
inhibition. For my own country in particular you 
must remember something like a promise that it 
should be adorned with one of them. The taking of 
your city by the enemy has hitherto prevented the 
proposition from being made & approved by our legis- 
lature. The zeal of a true whig in science must ex- 
cuse the hazarding these free thoughts, which flow 
from a desire of promoting the diffusion of knowledge 
& of your fame, and from one who can assure you 
truly that he is with much sincerity & esteem Your 
most obed^ & most humble serv^. 

P. S. If you can spare as much time as to give me 
notice of the receipt of this, & what hope I may form 
of my clocks, it will oblige me. If sent to Fredericks- 
burgh it will come safe to hand. 



[Dec. 12, 1778.] 
Whereas it is just that members of General assembly, delegated 
by the people to transact for them the legislative business, should, 
while attending that business, have their reasonable sustenance 
defrayed, dedicating to the public service their time and labors 
freely & without account : and it is also expedient that the public 
councils should not be deprived of the aid of good & able men, 
who might be deterred from entering into them by the insufficiency 
of their private fortunes to be the extraordinary expences they 
must necessarily incur : 

And it being inconsistent with the principles of civil liberty, & 
contrary to the natural rights of the other members of the society, 
that any body of men therein should have authority to enlarge 
their own powers, prerogatives, or emoluments without restraint 
the sd General assembly cannot at their own will increase the 
allowance which their members are to draw from the public 
treasury for their expences while in assembly ; but to enable 
them so do to an application to the body of the people has be- 
come necessary : 

And such application having been accordingly made to the 
freeholders of the several counties, & they having thereupon con- 
sented that the sd allowance shall be enlarged, and authorised & 
instructed their members to enlarge the same for themselves & 
the members of all future assemblies, to pounds of nett 

tobacco by the day for attendance on assembly, & to lbs of 

like tobacco for every mile they must necessarily travel going 
to or from the same, together with their ferriages, to be paid in 
money out of the public treasury at such rate as shall be esti- 
mated by the court of appeals at their session next before the 

' Dec. 8th Jefferson, Nelson, G. Mason, T. Mason, Nicholas, and Page were 
ordered to prepare this bill, and G. Mason introduced it Dec. 12th. It was 
read for the second time on Dec. 14th, and ordered engrossed and printed on 
Dec. i8th. It was not adopted. This is printed from the draft in Jefferson's 

1 66 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

meeting of every session of assembly, governing themselves in 
the said estimate by the worth of the sd tobacco, & the com- 
petence of the same to defray the necessary expences of travel- 
ling & attendance : 

Be it therefore enacted by the General assembly by express 
authority & instruction from the body of the people that the 
allowance to the several members of the present & of all future 
assemblies shall be of pounds of tobacco by the day 

for attendance on the sd assemblies, lbs of the like 

tobacco for every mile they must necessarily travel going to or 
from the same, together with their ferriages ; to be paid to them 
in money out of the public treasury at such rate as shall be esti- 
mated by the court of appeals at their session next before the 
meeting of each respective session of assembly, governing them- 
selves in the said estimate by the worth of the sd tobacco & the 
competence of the same to defray the necessary expences of 
travelling & attendance. 


Forest, March i, 1779. 

Dear Sir, — Since I left you I have reflected on the 
bill regulating the practising of attornies, & of our 
omitting to continue the practitioners at the County & 
General Courts separate. I think the bar of the Gen- 
eral Court a proper & an excellent nursery for future 
judges if it be so regulated as that science may be 
encouraged & may live there. But this can never 
be if an inundation of insects is permitted to come 
from the county courts & consume the harvest. 
These people traversing the counties seeing the 
clients frequently at their own courts, or, perhaps at 
their own houses must of necessity pick up all the 
business. The convenience of frequently seeing their 


counsel without going from home cannot be withstood 
by the country people. Men of science then (if there 
were to be any) would only be employed as auxiliary 
counsel in difficult cases. But can they live by that ? 
Certainly not. The present members of that kind 
therefore must turn marauders in the county courts ; 
& in future none will have leisure to acquire science. 
I should therefore be for excluding the county court 
attorneys, or rather for taking the general court 
lawyers from the incessant drudgery of the county 
courts & confining them to their studies that they 
may qualify themselves as well to support their 
clients as to become worthy successors to the bench. 
I hope to see the time when the election of Judges 
of the Supreme Courts shall be restrained to the bars 
of the General Court & High Court of Chancery, for 
when I speak of the former above, I mean to include 
the latter. I should even in our present bills have no 
objections to inserting such a restriction to take 
place seven or fourteen years hence. Adieu. 



Albemarle, March 27, 1779. 

Sir, — A report prevailing here, that in conse- 
quence of some powers from Congress, the Governor 
and Council have it in contemplation to remove the 
Convention troops, either wholly or in part, from 
their present situation, I take the liberty of troubling 
you with some observations on that subject. The 

1 68 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

reputation and interest of our country, in general, 
may be affected by such a measure : it would, there- 
fore, hardly be deemed an indecent liberty in the 
most private citizen, to offer his thoughts to the con- 
sideration of the Executive. The locality of my 
situation, particularly in the neighborhood of the 
present barracks, and the public relation in which I 
stand to the people among whom they are situated, 
together with a confidence which a personal knowl- 
edge of the members of the Executive gives me, that 
they will be glad of information from any quarter, on 
a subject interesting to the public, induce me to hope 
that they will acquit me of impropriety in the present 

By an article in the Convention of Saratoga, it is 
stipulated, on the part of the United States, that the 
officers shall not be separated from their men. I 
suppose the term officers, includes general as well as 
regimental officers. As there are general officers who 
command all the troops, no part of them can be sepa- 
rated from , these officers without a violation of the 
article : they cannot, of course, be separated from one 
another, unless the same general officer could be in 
different places at the same time. It is true, the 
article adds the words, "as far as circumstances will 
admit." This was a necessary qualification ; because, 
in no place in America, I suppose, could there have 
been found quarters for both officers and men to- 
gether; those for the officers to be according to their 
rank. So far, then, as the circumstances of the place 
where they should be quartered, should render a 


separation necessary, in order to procure quarters for 
the officers, according to their rank, the article 
admits that separation. And these are the circum- 
stances which must have been under the contempla- 
tion of the parties ; both of whom, and all the world 
beside (who are ultimate judges in the case), would 
still understand that they were to be as near in the 
environs of the camp, as convenient quarters could be 
procured ; and not that the qualification of the article 
destroyed the article itself, and laid it wholly at our 
discretion. Congress, indeed, have admitted of this 
separation ; but are they so far lords of right and 
wrong as that our consciences may be quiet with their 
dispensation ? Or is the case amended by saying they 
leave it optional in the Governor and Council to 
separate the troops or not ? At the same time that 
it exculpates not them, it is drawing the Governor 
and Council into a participation in the breach of faith. 
If indeed it is only proposed, that a separation of the 
troops shall be referred to the consent of their officers ; 
that is a very different matter. Having carefully 
avoided conversation with them on public subjects, I 
cannot say, of my own knowledge, how they would 
relish such a proposition. I have heard from others, 
that they will choose to undergo anything together, 
rather than to be separated, and that they will remon- 
strate against it in the strongest terms. The Execu- 
tive, therefore, if voluntary agents in this measure, 
must be drawn into a paper war with them, the more 
disagreeable, as it seems that faith and reason will be 
on the other side. As an American, I cannot help 

I70 2'HE WRITINGS OF [1779 

feeling a thorough mortification, that our Congress 
should have permitted an infraction of our public 
honor; as a citizen of Virginia, I cannot help hoping 
and confiding, that our Supreme Executive, whose 
acts will be considered as the acts of the Common- 
wealth, estimate that honor too highly to make its 
infraction their own act. I may be permitted to hope, 
then, that if any removal takes place, it will be a 
general one ; and, as it is said to be left to the Gov- 
ernor and Council to determine on this, I am satisfied 
that, suppressing every other consideration, and weigh- 
ing the matter dispassionately, they will determine 
upon this sole question. Is it for the benefit of those 
for whom they act, that the Convention troops should 
be removed from among them ? Under the head of 
interest, these circumstances, viz., the expense of 
building barracks, said to have been ;^25,ooo, and of 
removing the troops backwards and forwards, amount- 
ing to, I know not how much, are not to be permitted, 
merely because they are Continental expenses ; for we 
are a part of the Continent ; we must pay a shilling 
of every dollar wasted. But the sums of money 
which, by these troops, or on their account, are 
brought into, and expended in this State, are a great 
and local advantage. This can require no proof. If, 
at the conclusion of the war, for instance, our share of 
the Continental debt should be twenty millions of 
dollars, or say that we are called on to furnish an 
annual quota of two millions four hundred thousand 
dollars, to Congress, to be raised by tax, it is obvious 
that we should raise these given sums with greater or 


less ease, in proportion to the greater or less quantity 
of money found in circulation among us. I expect 
that our circulating money is [increased ?], by the pres- 
ence of these troops, at the rate of $30,000 a week, at 
the least. I have heard, indeed, that an objection arises 
to their being kept within this State, from the informa- 
tion of the commissary that they cannot be subsisted 
here. In attending to the information of that officer, 
it should be borne in mind that the county of King 
William and its vicinities are one thing, the territory 
of Virginia another. If the troops could be fed upon 
long letters, I believe the gentleman at the head of 
that department in this country, would be the best 
commissary upon earth. But till I see him deter- 
mined to act, not to write ; to sacrifice his domestic 
ease to the duties of his appointment, and apply to the 
resources of this country, wheresoever they are to be 
had, I must entertain a different opinion of him. I 
am mistaken if, for the animal subsistence of the 
troops hitherto, we are not principally indebted to the 
genius and exertions of Hawkins, during the very 
short time he lived after his appointment to that de- 
partment, by your board. His eye immediately per- 
vaded the whole State, it was reduced at once to a 
regular machine, to a system, and the whole put into 
movement and animation by the fiat of a comprehen- 
sive mind. If the Commonwealth of Virginia cannot 
furnish these troops with bread, I would ask of the 
commissariat, which of the thirteen is now become the 
grain colony ? If we are in danger of famine from 
the addition of four thousand mouths, what is become 

172 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

of that surplus of bread, the exportation of which used 
to feed the West Indies and Eastern States, and fill 
the colony with hard money ? When I urge the 
sufficiency of this State, however, to subsist these 
troops, I beg to be understood, as having in contem- 
plation the quantity of provisions necessary for their 
real use, and not as calculating what is to be lost by 
the wanton waste, mismanagement, and carelessness 
of those employed about it. If magazines of beef and 
pork are suffered to rot by slovenly butchering, or for 
want of timely provision and sale ; if quantities of flour 
are exposed, by the commissaries entrusted with the 
keeping it, to pillage and destruction ; and if, when 
laid up in the Continental stores, it is still to be em- 
bezzled and sold, the land of Egypt itself would be 
insufficient for their supply, and their removal would 
be necessary, not to a more plentiful country, but to 
more able and honest commissaries. Perhaps the 
magnitude of this question, and its relation to the 
whole State, may render it worth while to await the 
opinion of the National Council, which is now to meet 
within a few weeks. There is no danger of distress 
in the meantime, as the commissaries affirm they have 
a great sufficiency of provisions for some time to 
come. Should the measure of removing them into 
another State be adopted, and carried into execution, 
before the meeting of Assembly, no disapprobation of 
theirs will bring them back, because they will then be 
in the power of others, who will hardly give them up. 
Want of information as to what may be the pre- 
cise measure proposed by the Governor and Council, 


obliges me to shift my ground, and take up the sub- 
ject in every possible form. Perhaps, they have not 
thought to remove the troops out of this State alto- 
gether, but to some other part of it. Here, the ob- 
jections arising from the expenses of removal, and 
of building new barracks, recur. As to animal food, 
it may be driven to one part of the country as easily 
as to another : that circumstance, therefore, may be 
thrown out of the question. As to bread, I suppose 
they will require about forty or forty-five thousand 
bushels of grain a year. The place to which it is to 
be brought to them, is about the centre of the State. 
Besides, that the country round about is fertile, all 
the grain made in the counties adjacent to any kind 
of navigation, may be brought by water to within 
twelve miles of the spot. For these twelve miles, 
wagons must be employed ; I suppose half a dozen 
will be a plenty. Perhaps, this part of the expense 
might have been saved, had the barracks been built 
on the water ; but it is not sufficient to justify their 
being abandoned now they are built. Wagonage, 
indeed, seems to the commissariat an article not worth 
economising. The most wanton and studied circuity 
of transportation has been practised : to mention only 
one act, they have bought quantities of flour for these 
troops in Cumberland, have ordered it to be wagoned 
down to Manchester, and wagoned thence up to the 
barracks. This fact happened to fall within my own 
knowledge. I doubt not there are many more such, 
in order either to produce their total removal, or to 
run up the expenses of the present situation, and 

174 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

satisfy Congress that the nearer they are brought to 
the commissary's own bed, the cheaper they will be 
subsisted. The grain made in the western counties 
may be brought partly in wagons, as conveniently to 
this as to any other place ; perhaps more so, on ac- 
count of its vicinity to one of the best passes through 
the Blue Ridge ; and partly by water, as it is near to 
James river, to the navigation of which, ten counties 
are adjacent above the falls. When I said that the 
grain might be brought hither from all the counties 
of the State adjacent to navigation, I did not mean 
to say it would be proper to bring it from all. On 
the contrary, I think the commissary should be in- 
structed, after the next harvest, not to send one bushel 
of erain to the barracks from below the falls of the 
rivers, or from the northern counties. The counties 
on tide water are accessible to the calls for our own 
army. Their supplies ought, therefore, to be hus- 
banded for them. The counties in the northwestern 
parts of the State are not only within reach for our 
own grand army, but peculiarly necessary for the sup- 
port of Macintosh's army ; or for the support of any 
other northwestern expedition, which the uncertain 
conduct of the Indians should render necessary ; in- 
somuch, that if the supplies of that quarter should be 
misapplied to any other purpose, it would destroy, in 
embryo, every exertion, either for particular or gene- 
ral safety there. The counties above tide water, in 
the middle and southern and western parts of the 
country, are not accessible to calls for either of those 
purposes, but at such an expense of transportation as 


the article would not bear. Here, then, is a great 
field, whose supplies of bread cannot be carried to our 
army, or rather, which will raise no supplies of bread, 
because there is nobody to eat them. Was it not, 
then, wise in Congress to remove to that field four 
thousand idle mouths, who must otherwise have in- 
terfered with the pasture of our own troops ? And, 
if they are removed to any other part of the country, 
will it not defeat this wise purpose ? The mills on 
the waters of James river, above the falls, open to 
canoe navigation, are very many. Some of them are 
of orreat note, as manufacturers. The barracks are 
surrounded by mills. There are five or six round 
about Charlottesville. Any two or three of the whole 
might, in the course of the winter, manufacture flour 
sufficient for the year. To say the worst, then, of 
this situation, it is but twelve miles wrong. The 
safe custody of these troops is another circumstance 
worthy consideration. Equally removed from the 
access of an eastern or western enemy ; central to 
the whole State, so that should they attempt an ir- 
ruption in any direction, they must pass through a 
great extent of hostile country ; in a neighborhood 
thickly inhabited by a robust and hardy people zeal- 
ous in the American cause, acquainted with the use 
of arms, and the defiles and passes by which they 
must issue : it would seem, that in this point of view, 
no place could have been better chosen. 

Their health is also of importance. I would not 
endeavor to show that their lives are valuable to us, 
because it would suppose a possibility, that humanity 

176 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

was kicked out of doors in America, and interest only 
attended to. The barracks occupy the top and brow 
of a very high hill, (you have been untruly told they 
were in a bottom.) They are free from bog, have four 
springs which seem to be plentiful, one within twenty 
yards of the piquet, two within fifty yards, and an- 
other within two hundred and fifty, and they propose 
to sink wells within the piquet. Of four thousand 
people, it should be expected, according to the ordi- 
nary calculations, that one should die every day. Yet, 
in the space of near three months, there have been 
but four deaths among them ; two infants under three 
weeks old, and two others by apoplexy. The officers 
tell me, the troops were never before so healthy since 
they were embodied. 

But is an enemy so execrable, that, though in cap- 
tivity, his wishes and comforts are to be disregarded 
and even crossed? I think not. It is for the bene- 
fit of mankind to mitigate the horrors of war as much 
as possible. The practice, therefore, of modern na- 
tions, of treating captive enemies with politeness and 
generosity, is not only delightful in contemplation, 
but really interesting to all the world, friends, foes, 
and neutrals. Let us apply this : the officers, after 
considerable hardships, have all procured quarters, 
comfortable and satisfactory to them. In order to 
do this, they were obliged, in many instances, to hire 
houses for a year certain, and at such exorbitant 
rents, as were sufificient to tempt independent owners 
to go out of them, and shift as they could. These 
houses, in most cases, were much out of repair. 


They have repaired them at a considerable expense. 
One of the general officers has taken a place for two 
years, advanced the rent for the whole time, and been 
obliged, moreover, to erect additional buildings for 
the accommodation of part of his family, for which 
there was not room in the house rented. Indepen- 
dent of the brick work, for the carpentry of these ad- 
ditional buildings, I know he is to pay fifteen hundred 
dollars. The same gentleman, to my knowledge, has 
paid to one person three thousand six hundred and 
seventy dollars for different articles to fix himself 
commodiously. They have generally laid in their 
stocks of grain and other provisions, for it is well 
known that officers do not live on their rations. They 
have purchased cows, sheep, &c., set in to farming, 
prepared their gardens, and have a prospect of com- 
fort and quiet before them. To turn to the soldiers : 
the environs of the barracks are delightful, the ground 
cleared, laid off in hundreds of gardens, each enclosed 
in its separate paling ; these well prepared, and ex- 
hibiting a fine appearance. General Riedezel alone 
laid out upwards of two hundred pounds in garden 
seeds for the German troops only. Judge what an 
extent of ground these seeds would cover. There is 
little doubt that their own gardens will furnish them 
a great abundance of vegetables through the year. 
Their poultry, pigeons and other preparations of that 
kind, present to the mind the idea of a company of 
farmers, rather than a camp of soldiers. In addition 
to the barracks built for them by the public, and now 
very comfortable, they have built great numbers for 

VOL. II.— 12 

178 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

themselves, in such messes as fancied each other ; and 
the whole corps, both officers and men, seem now 
happy and satisfied with their situation. Having 
thus found the art of rendering captivity itself com- 
fortable, and carried it into execution, at their own 
great expense and labor, their spirits sustained by the 
prospect of gratifications rising before their eyes, does 
not every sentiment of humanity revolt against the 
proposition of stripping them of all this, and remov- 
ing them into new situations, where, from the ad- 
vanced season of the year, no preparations can be 
made for carrying themselves comfortably through 
the heats of summer ; and when it is known that the 
necessary advances for the conveniences already pro- 
vided, have exhausted their funds and left them un- 
able to make the like exertions anew. Again, review 
this matter, as it may regard appearances. A body 
of troops, after staying a twelvemonth at Boston, are 
ordered to take a march of seven hundred miles to 
Virginia, where, it is said, they may be plentifully 
subsisted. As soon as they are there, they are or- 
dered on some other march, because, in Virginia, it 
is said, they cannot be subsisted. Indifferent nations 
will charge this either to ignorance, or to whim and 
caprice; the parties interested, to cruelty. They 
now view the proposition in that light, and it is said, 
there is a general and firm persuasion among them, 
that they were marched from Boston with no other 
purpose than to harass and destroy them with eternal 
marches. Perseverance in object, though not by the 
most direct way, is often more laudable than per- 


petual changes, as often as the object shifts light. 
A character of steadiness in our councils, is worth 
more than the subsistence of four thousand people. 

There could not have been a more unlucky concur- 
rence of circumstances than when these troops first 
came. The barracks were unfinished for want of la- 
borers, the spell of weather the worst ever known 
within the memory of man, no stores of bread laid in, 
the roads, by the weather and number of wagons, 
soon rendered impassable : not only the troops them- 
selves were greatly disappointed, but the people in 
the neighborhood were alarmed at the consequences 
which a total failure of provisions might produce. 
In this worst state of things, their situation was seen 
by many and disseminated through the country, so as 
to occasion a general dissatisfaction, which even 
seized the minds of reasonable men, who, if not af- 
fected by the contagion, must have foreseen that the 
prospect must brighten, and that great advantages 
to the people must necessarily arise. It has, accord- 
ingly, so happened. The planters, being more gen- 
erally sellers than buyers, have felt the benefit of 
their presence in the most vital part about them, 
their purses, and are now sensible of its source. I 
have too good an opinion of their love of order to 
believe that a removal of these troops would produce 
any irregular proofs of their disapprobation, but I am 
well assured it would be extremely odious to them. 

To conclude. The separation of these troops 
would be a breach of public faith, therefore I sup- 
pose it is impossible ; if they are removed to another 


State, it is the fault of the commissaries ; if they are 
removed to any other part of the State, it is the fault 
of the commissaries ; and in both cases, the public in- 
terest and public security suffer, the comfortable and 
plentiful subsistence of our own army is lessened, the 
health of the troops neglected, their wishes crossed, 
and their comforts torn from them, the character of 
whim and caprice, or, what is worse, of cruelty, fixed 
on us as a nation, and, to crown the whole, our own 
people disgusted with such a proceeding. 

I have thus taken the liberty of representing to 
you the facts and the reasons, which seem to militate 
against the separation or removal of these troops. I 
am sensible, however, that the same subject may ap- 
pear to different persons, in very different lights. 
What I have urged as reasons, may, to sounder 
minds, be apparent fallacies. I hope they will ap- 
pear, at least, so plausible, as to excuse the interpo- 
sition of 

Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble 


MONTICELLO, April 21, 1779- 

Dear Sir, — Among the convention prisoners in 
this neighborhood is a Baron de Geismar of the 
Germans, brigade major to Genl. Gall, whose situa- 
tion I would wish to make you acquainted with. He 
is the only son of a German nobleman, and has I 

' From the original in the possession of Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, of New 

1779] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 1 8 1 

believe an only sister ; his father, now 70 years of 
age, if living ; and excessively anxious to see him 
before his death. His Patrimonial expectations in 
danger of being transferred to others in the weak 
state of his father, or perhaps plundered in the case 
of his death ; the footing on which he stands with his 
prince such as might give him reason to hope for 
protection were he on the spot, but everything of that 
kind certain of passing by him as long as he is absent. 
Under the circumstances, captivity is peculiarly in- 
jurious to him, & he petitions Congress to exchange 
him if possible, or otherwise permit him to return 
home on any parole they will describe. I am satisfied 
he will carry with him no disposition to injure us ; and 
his personal merit, with which I am become intimately 
acquainted, entitles him to every indulgence consistent 
with the indispensable rules of Congress. I take the 
liberty of recommending his request to your sollicita- 
tions, as from a knowledge of the man I am become 
interested in his happiness. Whatever you can do 
for him will be considered as a peculiar obligation on 
Dr. Sir, Your friend & serv't. 


MoNTiCELLO, April 29, 1779. 

Dear Sir, — By Mrs. Harvey I inclose to you the 
principle and interest of the money you were so kind 
as to lend me some years ago. It furnishes me also 

' From The Balance, 11, p. 194, 1803. On this matter was founded a very 
bitter attack on Jefferson. This loan was made in 1773. On Jones ])ressing 
for payment in 1779, Jefferson tendered him Continental currency, depreciated to 

1 82 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

with an occasion of acknowledging, with this, the 
many other obHgations under which you have laid 
me, of which I shall always be proud to shew a due 
sense, whenever opportunities shall offer. I am, dear 
sir, with much esteem, your friend and servant. 


[May 27, 1779.] 

Whereas during the connection which subsisted between the 
now United States of America and the other parts of the British 
empire, & their subjection to one common prince the inhabitants 

an extent which made this tender less than one quarter of the amount originally 
received. Jones preferred to refuse it entirely (though under the law the tender 
constituted payment) on the ground that in a personal debt such pretended 
payment was dishonorable and fictitious. Jefferson never replied to Jones' 
protest, but when in France, several years later, his agent made payment in 
full. The affair was first made public by J. T. Callender, in The Recorder of 
Dec. 8, 1802. This led to considerable controversy, and finally induced Jones 
to write a narrative of the transaction, which is in The Recorder of June 4, 
1803. In the National Intelligencer of July i, 1803 is a piece signed " Timo- 
leon," in defence of Jefferson, which was undoubtedly inspired, if not written, 
by Jefferson. A broadside, signed "Veritas," was written and circulated by 
Philip Grymes, entitled Letter to Gabriel Jones, a copy of which is in the 
Library of Congress among the Jefferson pamphlets ; and this produced a 
pamphlet entitled : A Refutatioti of the Charges Made by a Writer under the 
Signature of " Veritas" against the Character of Gabriel Jones — the Lately 
Acknowledged Author being the Honorable Philip Grymes, Member of the 
Council of State, — in Which Every Charge or Insinuation agaitist Him in that 
Libel is Fully and Clearly Refuted. Winchester : Printed by Richard Bowen, 

' On May 27, 1779, Jefferson was appointed to prepare this bill, and reported 
it the same day, when it was read for the first time. On the next day it was 
read for a second time, and committed to the Committee of the Courts of Jus- 
tice. They reported it back with amendments on June nth, when it was 
ordered engrossed, and passed. This is printed from the draft in Jefferson's 
handwriting, the act as adopted being in the Sessions Acts for May, 1779, and in 
Hening, X, 66. Another bill dealing with this matter is in the Report of the 
Revisers, p. 22. 


of either part had all the rights of natural born subjects in the 
other, & so might lawfully take & hold real property, and transmit 
the same by descent to their heirs in fee simple, which could not 
be done by mere aliens ; and the inhabitants on each part had 
accordingly acquired real property in the other : and in like 
manner had acquired personal property which by their common 
laws might be possessed by any other than an alien enemy & 
transmitted to executors & administrators : but when by the 
tyrannies of that prince, & the open hostilities committed by his 
armies & subjects inhabitants of the other parts of his dominions 
on the good people of the sd United States they are obliged to 
wage war in defense of their rights & finally to separate them- 
selves from the rest of the British empire, to renounce all subjec- 
tion to their common prince, and to become sovereign & 
independent states, the sd inhabitants of the other parts of the 
British empire become aliens & enemies to the sd states, & as 
such, incapable of holding the property real or personal so 
acquired therein & so much thereof as was within this common- 
wealth became by the laws vested in the commonwealth. 

Nevertheless the General assembly, tho' provoked by the 
example of their enemies to a departure from that generosity 
which so honourably distinguishes the civilized nations of the 
present age, yet desirous to conduct themselves with moderation 
& temper, by an act passed at their session in the year 1777 took 
measures for preventing what had been the property of British 
subjects within this commonwealth from waste & destruction, 
be putting the same into the hands & under the management of 
commissioners appointed for that purpose, that so it might be in 
their power, if reasonable at a future day, to restore to the former 
proprietors the full value thereof : 

And whereas it is found that the sd property is liable to be 
lost, wasted & impaired without greater attention in the officers 
of government than is consistent with the discharge of their 
public duties and that from the advanced price at which the same 
would now sell, it may be most for the benefit of the former 
owners if the same should be restored to them hereafter, or to the 
public if not so restored, that the sale thereof should take place 
at this time, & the proceeds be lodged in the public treasury. 

i84 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

Be it therefore enacted by the General assembly that so much 
of the act before mentioned as may be supposed to have sus- 
pended the operation of the law of escheats & forfeitures shall be 
hereby repealed & that all the property, real & personal within 
this commonwealth belonging at this time to any British subject, 
or which did belong to any British subject at the time such 
escheat or forfeiture may have taken place, shall be deemed to be 
vested in the commonwealth, the sd real estate by way of escheat 
& the said personal estate by forfeiture. 

The Governor with the advice of council so far as their infor- 
mation will enable them, & the commissioners of the tax within 
their several counties aided by their assessors shall forthwith 
institute proper proceedings of escheat & forfeiture for all such 
property real & personal in which they shall be advised and 
assisted by the several attornies for the commonwealth. 

Where any office in the cases before mentioned shall be 
found for the commonwealth & returned to the General court, it 
shall remain there but one month for the claim of any pretending 
right to the estate, and if within that time no such claim be made, 
or being made if it be found & discussed for the commonwealth, 
the title of the owner to such estate real or personal shall be 
forever barred, but may be afterwards asserted as to the money 
proceeding from the sale thereof with equal force & advantage 
as might have been to the thing itself ; and such further proceed- 
ings shall be had for making sale, of the lands so found, in 
parcels not greater than 400 acres (to be described by the com- 
missioners hereafter mentioned and measured & marked by 
metes & bounds by a surveyor where they shall think necessary) 
and of the other property, as in the cases of escheat & forfeiture ; 
save only that the Governor with advice of council, for every 
such sale shall appoint two commissioners to superintend & con- 
trol the proceedings of the sd escheators, which commissioners 
shall be sworn to use their best endeavors to have the estate to 
which their trust extends sold to the best advantage. The sd 
sales shall be for ready money to be paid to the Escheator, who 
shall retain thereof five per centum for his trouble. His certifi- 
cate of such paiment in the case of lands, and of the person 
purchasing, to the register of the land office, shall entitle the 


purchaser to a grant of the sd lands, if the sd Escheator shall fail 
to pay the sd money into the hands of the Treasurer within a 
reasonable time after any such sale (which reasonable time shall 
be accounted one day for every 20 miles such sale was distant 
from the public treasury and days of grace in addition 

thereto) he shall pay interest thereon from the time of the sd 
sale at the rate of 20 per centum per annum ; & moreover it 
shall be lawful for the Auditors on the last day but one of any 
General court, or at any court to be held for the county wherein 
such property was sold, after the expiration of the time allowed 
for paiment to obtain judgment on motion against such Es- 
cheator his heirs executors & administrators for the principal 
sum and such interest, together with costs. And for the informa- 
tion of the Auditors, the commissioners of the sale shall immedi- 
ately on such sale certify to whom & for how much such sale was 
made & transmit such certificate by some safe & early conveyance 
to the Auditors ; which certificate shall be legal evidence against 
such Escheator. The Auditors shall allow the commissioners so 
appointed the expences of the surveys by them directed & made, 
&: other their reasonable expenses ; and such compensation for 
their trouble as to them shall seem proper. Where the com- 
missioners shall be of opinion that it will be more to the interest 
of the owner or public that possession of such property real or 
personal should be retained for finishing & removing a crop or 
other purpose, it shall be lawful for them to stay the possession 
as it is now until the day of next, giving notice 

of such their intentions at the time of sale. 

And for preventing doubt who shall be deemed British subjects 
within the meaning of this act, it is hereby declared & enacted 
that (i) all persons, subjects of his Britannic majesty, who on the 
day of April in the year 1775, when hostilities were com- 
menced at Lexington between the United states of America & 
the other parts of the British empire, were resident or following 
their vocations in any part of the world other than the sd United 
states, and have not since either entered into public employment 
of the sd states, or joined the same and by overt act adhered 
to them ; and (2.) all such subjects inhabitants of any of the sd 
United States, as were out of the sd states on the same day, & 

1 86 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

have since by overt act adhered to the enemies of the sd states ; 
and (3) all inhabitants of the sd states who after the sd day and 
before the commencement of the act of the General assembly 
intituled ' an act declaring what shall be treason ' departed from 
the sd states & joined the subjects of his Britannic majesty of 
their own free will, or who by any county court within this com- 
monwealth were declared to be British subjects within the meaning 
& operation of the resolution of the General assembly of 

and the Governor's proclamation founded thereon ; shall 
be deemed British subjects within the intention of this act. 

But this act shall not extend to debts due to British subjects &: 
paiable into the loan office according to the act of General 
assembly for sequestering British property ; nor take effect on 
the property of such British subjects as are infants, femes 
covertes, or insane mind, who within one year after their dis- 
ability removed and hostilities suspended between his Britannic 
majesty and the United states shall become citizens of any of the 
sd states ; nor on any lots of land within the town of Richmond 
as the limits of sd town now are, or shall be at the time of the 
inquest found, which by the directors of the public buildings 
shall be included within the squares appropriated for such build- 
ings further than that an office shall be found as to such lots of 
land and the estimated value thereof be disposed of hereafter as 
the price would have been by this act had they been exposed to 
public sale ; nor on any other such lots within the same town as 
shall by the sd directors be declared proper for the public use 
until buildings be erected on the squares before mentioned, & so 
long as they shall be applied to such public use. 


Wednesday, June 2, 1779. 
Gentlemen, — The honor which the General assembly have been 
pleased to confer on me, by calling me to the high office of Gov- 
ernor of this Commonwealth, demands my most grateful acknowl- 

' From the Jotirnal of the Hojtse of Delegates. Jefferson had just been 
elected Governor of Virginia. 


edgments, which I desire, through you, gentlemen, to tender to 
them with the utmost respect. In a virtuous and free State no 
rewards can be so pleasing to sensible minds, as those Avhich in- 
clude the approbation of our fellow-citizens. My great pain is, 
lest my poor endeavors should fall short of the kind expectations 
of my country. So far as impartiality, assiduous attention, and 
sincere affection to the great American cause, shall enable me to 
fulfil the duties of my appointment, so far as I may with con- 
fidence undertake ; for all beyond, I must rely on the wise coun- 
sels of the General assembly, and of those whom they have 
appointed for my aid in those duties. 

To you, gentlemen, I return my particular thanks for the polite 
terms in which you have been pleased to notify the will of the 
General assembly. 

TO JOHN page/ J- MSB. 

[June, 1779] 

Dear Page, — I received your letter^ by Mr. Jamie- 
son. It had given me much pain, that the zeal of our 
respective friends should ever have placed you and me 
in the situation of competitors. I was comforted, how- 
ever, with the reflection, that it was their competition, 
not ours, and that the difference of the numbers which 
decided between us, was too insignificant to give you 
a pain, or me a pleasure, had our dispositions towards 
each other been such as to admit those sensations. I 
know you too well to need an apology for anything 
you do, and hope you will forever be assured of this ; 

' This letter was dated in the Randolph and Washington editions as Jan. 22, 

■■' Dated June 2d, and congratulating him on his election as Governor of Vir- 
ginia. The first vote was : Jefferson, 55 ; Nelson, 32 ; and Page, 38. The sec- 
ond was Jefferson, 67 ; Page, 61. Cf. yournal of the House of Delegates for 
1779, P- 29. 

1 88 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

and as to the constructions of the world, they would 
only have added one to the many sins for which they 
are to go to the devil. As this is the first, I hope it 
will be the last, instance of ceremony between us. A 
desire to see my family, which is in Charles City, car- 
ries me thither to-morrow, and I shall not return till 
Monday. Mrs. Jefferson I believe will not come 
shortly to town. When she does however she has 
too much value for Mrs. Page not to consider her 
acquaintance as a principal among those circumstances 
which are to reconcile her to her situation. A knowl- 
edge of her sentiments on this subject renders it safe 
in undertaking that she shall do her part in cultivat- 
ing a friendly intercourse. Be pleased to present my 
compliments to Mrs. Page, and add this to the assur- 
ances I have ever given you, that I am, dear Page, 
your affectionate friend. 


WiLLiAMSBURGH, June 8, 1779. 

Dear Fleming, — I received your letter and have 
now to thank you for it. Some resolutions of Con- 
gress came to hand yesterday desiring an authentic 
state to be sent them of the cruelties said to have 
been committed by the enemy during their late inva- 
sion. The council had already taken measures to 
obtain such a state. Tho' so near the scene where 
these barbarities are said to have been committed I 
am not able yet to decide within myself whether they 

• From the Southern Literary Messenger, III, 306. 


were such or not. The testimony on both sides is 
such as if heard separately could not admit a moment's 
suspension of our faith. 

We have lately been extremely disturbed to find a 
pretty general opinion prevailing that peace and the 
independence of the thirteen states are now within 
our power, and that Congress have hesitations on the 
subject, and delay entering on the consideration. It 
has even been said that their conduct on this head 
has been so dissatisfactory to the French minister that 
he thinks of returning to his own country, ostensibly 
for better health, but in truth through disgust. Such 
an event would be deplored here as the most dreadful 
calamity. It is in contemplation of some gentlemen 
who conferred on the subject to propose the re-estab- 
lishment of our committees of correspondence ; others 
thought this too slow for the emergency and that 
plenipotentiary deputies should be sent to satisfy the 
mind of the French minister, and to set on foot 
proper measures for procuring the genuine sense of 
the several states. The whole however subsided on 
a supposition that the information might not be true, 
and that our delegates in Congress would think no 
obligations of secrecy under which they may have 
been laid sufficient to restrain them from informing 
their constituents of any proceedings which may in- 
volve the fate of their freedom and independence. It 
would surely be better to carry on a ten years' war 
some time hence than to continue the present an 
unnecessary moment. 

Our land office I think will be opened ; the sale of 
British property take place, and our tax bill put on a 



better footing. These measures I hope will put our 
finances into a better way and enable us to co-operate 
with our sister states in reducing the enormous sums 
of money in circulation. Every other remedy is non- 
sensical quackery. The house of delegates have 
passed a bill for removing the seat of government to 
Richmond. It hesitates with the Senate. We have 
established a board of war and a board of trade. I 
hear from your quarter that Genl. Sullivan is march- 
ing with a large army against the Indians. If he suc- 
ceeds it will be the first instance of a great army 
doing anything against Indians and his laurels will be 
greater. We have ever found that chosen corps of 
men fit for the service of the w^oods, going against 
them wqth rapidity, and by surprize, have been most 
successful. I believe that our Colo. Clarke if we could 
properly reinforce him, would be more likely to suc- 
ceed against those within his reach than Genl. Macin- 
tosh's regular method of proceeding. I shall hope to 
hear from you often. I put no name to this letter, 
because letters have miscarried, and if it goes safely 
you know the hand. 


Williamsburg, June 8th, 1779. 

Sir, — Your letter to Governor Henry, of the ist 
instant, came to hand yesterday, and I immediately 
laid it before the council. It gave them pain to hesi- 
tate on any request from General Phillips, whose 

' From The Bland Papers, I, 133. 


polite conduct has disposed them to every indulgence 
consistent with the duties of their appointment. The 
indiscriminate murder of men, women and children, 
with the horrid circumstances of barbarity practised 
by the Indian savages, was the particular task of 
Governor Hamilton's employment ; and if anything 
could have aggravated the acceptance of such an office, 
and have made him personally answerable in a high 
degree, it was that eager spirit with which he is said 
to have executed it, and which, if the representations 
before the council are to be credited, seems to have 
shown that his own feelings and disposition were in 
unison with his employment. The truth of these 
representations will be the subject of their inquiry 
shortly, and the treatment of Governor Hamilton will 
be mild or otherwise, as his conduct shall appear to 
merit, upon a more intimate examination. We trust 
it must furnish a contemplation highly pleasing to the 
generous soldier, to see honorable bravery respected, 
even by those against whom it happens to be enlisted, 
and discriminated from the cruel and cowardly war- 
fare of the savage, whose object in war is to extinguish 
human nature. 

By a letter dated May 27th, you were desired to 
discharge the militia under your command as soon as 
you judged it proper; lest that letter should have 
miscarried, I now enclose you a copy. Colonel Finnic 
informs me he has written to you to apply for clothes 
at Winchester, for the use of your regiment of guards, 
and of the horse now with you. He yesterday showed 
me a letter from the continental board of war, giving 

192 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

the same directions ; he says also that he had lately 
written to you on the subject of the articles desired 
for your particular use, and that he is not enabled to 
procure them more fully. 

As to putting the horse now with you on the same 
pay-roll with the regiment of guards, the council are of 
opinion that either your own powers are competent to 
it, or at least that it may be done in concert with the 
continental paymaster. The regiment of guards is 
recognized as continental ; the duty they are jointly 
engaged in is continental ; they therefore wish that 
this matter should o-o into the continental line alto- 
gether, rather than be controlled by their interference, 
where it is not absolutely necessary. I am your most 
obedient servant, &c. 


Williamsburg, June 17, 1779. 

Dear Sir, — I received your letter, and kind con- 
gratulations, for which I return you my thanks. In a 
virtuous government, and more especially in times 
like these, public offices are, what they should be, 
burthens to those appointed to them, which it would 
be wrong to decline, though foreseen to bring with 
them intense labour, and great private loss. I am, 
also, still to thank you for a former favour, enclosing 
a song and receipt. We have little new here. Colonel 
Clarke's expedition against St Vincents you know of ; 
his prisoners are arrived at Chesterfield, and three of 

' From Lee's Life of R. H. Lee, 11, 189. 


them brought to this place to be severely dealt with ; 
the enclosed paper will explain that matter. We have 
300 men, under Colonel Bowman, in the Shawnee 
county, of whom we hope to receive good accounts : the 
destruction of the villages of the Cherokees, at Chuch- 
amogga, and taking their goods, &c., has brought them 
to sue for peace ; but the happiest stroke was the 
burning twenty-thousand bushels of corn, collected 
there for the use of the expeditions, which were to have 
been adopted at the great council. Governor Hamilton 
had called at the mouth of the Tanissee, as mentioned 
in the within paper. It is a cruel thought, that, when 
we feel ourselves standing on the firmest ground, in 
every respect, the cursed art of our secret enemies, 
combining with other causes, should effect, by depre- 
ciating our money, what the open arms of a powerful 
enemy could not. What is to be done ? Taxation 
is become of no account, for it is foreseen, that, not- 
withstandinof its increased amount, there will still be a 
greater deficiency than ever. I own I see no assured 
hope, but in peace, or a plentiful loan of hard money. 
I shall be obliged by your letters, when convenient 
to you to write, I never was a punctual correspondent 
to any person, as I must own to my shame ; perhaps 
my present office will put it more out of my power ; 
however as it may sometimes furnish me with matter 
which may induce me to hope my letters may be worth 
sending, I may venture to say, you shall hear from 
me whenever I can get over the two-fold difficulty of 
many letters of absolute necessity, to write, and an 
innate aversion to that kind of business. 




WiLLIAMSBURGH, JuilC l8th, I779. 

Sir. — Yours of the 14th instant came to hand this 
day. * * * With respect to Col. Finnic, as a conti- 
nental officer, [we decline med] dling with his conduct ; 
being yourself in the continental service, [wejtake it for 
granted, that if he fails in his duty you will [put] him 
under a proper train of enquiry ? His assurances to 
us are fair; one thing only I am to inform you, that 
however true it may be that he is without money, it is 
no just excuse for failing to do anything for the public 
service, because that was never permitted by the execu- 
tive here, to be on sufferance for want of money. He 
never applied in vain, and we still are, as we ever have 
been, ready to lend him (as a continental ofificer) any 
monies, which the due discharge of his office may call 
[for] * * * and politeness at the [least] hardly permits 
them to suppose the duties of the [post can be as] well 
discharged by any other, as by yourself. But your 
health for that very reason is the more to be taken care 
of. You will please to permit Capt. Bertling and 
Lieutenant Campbell to pass by land to the lower 
ferry of the Chickahominy, [where the Flag] lies, and 
finally settle the business, on which he came, accord- 
ing [to the rules] usual in their service. I enclose you 
the reasons, which have induced the council to [act] 
with such rioror with Governor Hamilton and the others 
there. It is impossible for any generous man to dis- 
approve his sentence. I am, sir, with much [respect,] 
your most obedient and most humble servant, &c. 

' From The Bland Papers, I, 138. 



In 1776, as Jefferson states in \i\% Autobiography, (i, 57), he introduced a bill 
in the General Assembly, creating a committee to revise and codify the laws of 
the state. The committee, consisting of Jefferson, Pendleton, Wythe, George 
Mason, and Thomas L. Lee, met at Fredericksburg, Jan. 13, 1777, and out- 
lined a plan (partly printed in Rowland's Life of Mason, I, 276) settling certain 
details, and apportioning the work among the revisors. Both Mason and Lee 
resigned before the code was fairly commenced; but the remaining three worked 
on the revisal for over two years, finally meeting again at Williamsburg in 
Feb., 1779, where, Jefferson states {Autobiography), they " examined critically 
our several parts, sentence by sentence, scrutinizing and amending until we had 
agreed on the whole. We then returned home, [and] had fair copies made 
of our several parts." A letter of Pendleton, however, gives a different 
version of this {Pendleton to Jefferson, May 11, 1779) : 

" I immediately wrote to our friend W. to be informed if anything had hap- 
pen'd, or passed between you & him, which made it necessary for me to attend 
further to the work of Revisal, contrary to what had been agreed to between 
Us, that you should settle our diversity of Opinions upon the Bills he had pre- 
pared, as well as mine, which he chose to consider by himself , & Point out for 
your Examination any alterations he judged proper, & then they were to be 
fairly transcribed as wall as yours, which we had before gone through & re- 
ported. I let him know that I was ready to attend him at any time, if such 
Occurrences had made it necessary ; he answered that no Alteration was made 
in that plan & I was satisfied." 

Finally they reported the results of their work to the Assembly in the 
following letter : 

Williamsburg, June 18, 1779. 

Sir, — The committee appointed in pursuance of an act of General Assembly, 
passed in 1776 intituled "An act for the revision of the laws," have according to 
the requisitions of the said act, gone through that work, and prepared 126 bills, 
the titles of which are stated in the enclosed catalogue. Some of these bills have 
been presented to the House of Delegates in the course of the present session, 
two or three of them delivered to members of that House at their request to be 


t96 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

oresented, the rest are in the two bundles which accompany this ; these we take 
the liberty through you of presenting to the General Assembly. 

In the course of this work we were unfortunately deprived of the assistance 
and abilities of our associates appointed by the General Assembly, of the one by 
death, of the other by resignation. As the plan of the work had been settled, 
and agreeable to that plan it was in a considerable degree carried into execution 
before that loss, we did not exercise the powers given us by the act, of filling 
up the places by new appointment, being desirous that the plan agreed on by 
members who were specially appointed by the Assembly, might not be liable to 
alteration from others who might not equally possess their confidence, it has 
therefore been executed by the three remaining members, one of whom being pre- 
vented from putting his signature hereto, by the great distance of his residence 
from this city, has by letter authorized us to declare his concurrence in the report. 
We have the honor to be with the utmost respect, sir, your most obedient 
and most humble servants, 

T. Jekferson, 
G. Wythk. 

For some reason the Assembly neglected the Report of the Revisors for some 
years; but finally, in 1784, Madison succeeded in getting 500 copies of it printed, 
and at the sessions of 1785 and 1786, fifty-six out of the one hundred and twenty- 
six bills, which constituted the collection, were, after amendment, made laws 
(see Hcni7is;, xii). 

The part assigned to Jefferson in this work was "to undertake the first part 
('the first period in the division of the statutes to end with 25th, H. 8th') 
with the law of descents." 

After consideration, the editor has concluded to print only the most notable 
of the bills Jefferson drafted for this Revisal, as many are of a merely formal 
and routine character, and he himself wrote of the collection (to Hogendorp, 
Oct. 13, 1785) : 

" If you had formed any considerable expectations from our revised code of 
laws you will be much disappointed. It contains not more than three or four 
laws which could strike the attention of a foreigner. Had it been a digest of 
all our laws, it would not have been comprehensible or instructive but to a na- 
tive. But it is still less so, as it digests only the British statutes & our own acts 
of assembly, which are but a supplementary part of our law. The great basis 
of it is anterior to the date of the Magna charta, which is the oldest statute 
extant. The only merit of this work is that it may remove from our book 
shelves about twenty folio volumes of our statutes, retaining all the parts of them 
which either their own merit or the established system of our laws required." 

For further information concerning this Report of the Revisors , see Jefferson's 
Autobiography, I, 57-69 ; Notes on Virginia, Query xiv, pp. 250-275 ; Letters 
to Madison, Feb. 20, Apr. 25, 1784 ; Hening, xii, 8, 409 ; Rowland's Life of 
Mason, I, 276 ; and Letters of James Madison, I, 199, 203, 207, 212, 260, 268, 
270, 273, 366, III, 532, 580, 583, 612. 

R E P O 1? 1 

..i:XERAL ASSEMBf "^- 

h:: :jLc:i:r{vL 

■':. rii i; 


(chapter XXXVI.') 

Section I. For securing to the citizens of this commonwealth 
an indemnification out of the property of British subjects here, in 
case the sovereign of the latter should confiscate the property of 
the former in his dominions, as well as to prevent that accession 
of strength which the enemy might derive by withdrawing their 
property from hence : Be it enacted by the General Assembly, 
that the lands, slaves, flocks, implements of husbandry, and other 
estate except what is otherwise hereinafter provided for, within 
this commonwealth, of British subjects, shall be sequestered, and 
remain in possession of the commissioners heretofore for that 
purpose appointed, or be put into the possession of such as shall 
be from time to time, appointed, by the Governor, with advice of 
the Council of State. The said commissioners shall have power, 
and are required, to place, and keep the said estates under any 
management and direction of proper agents, stewards, or over- 
seers, and dispose of the produce thereof, and to demand, receive, 
and, by actions in the names of the proprietors, recover monies 
and other things which are and shall become due to them, and, 
after defraying the expenses incurred in the management of the 
said estates, and applying so much of the profits thereof, as the 

' This Vjill varies slightly from that actually enacted {Hening, ix, 377) which 
was also drawn by Jefferson. (^Journal of the House of Delegates, t-"]!!, pp. 
113, 119, 125-6 ; W. C. Ford's Letters of Joseph Jones, 138.) Even as early as 
1779 the Assembly acknowledged its injustice, and it proved eventually a boom- 
erang, the Courts holding that payments under it did not liquidate the debts, 
and compelling a true payment to the British debtors. Among those to suffer 
the most was Jefferson, who had paid into the loan-office moneys due by him to 
John Randolph, Kippen & Co., and William Jones. 


2 00 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

Governor, with the advice aforesaid, shall judge reasonable and 
direct to be allowed, towards maintaining the wives and children, 
if any there be residing here, of the proprietors, and pay the 
balances of such profits and receipts into the loan-oiifice of 
this commonwealth, taking certificates in the proprietors names, 
and delivering the certificates, and annually rendering accounts 
of their respective transactions to the Governor, who, with the 
advice aforesaid, may cause the said accounts to be adjusted, and, 
in the names of the proprietors, recover any arrears from the 
commissioners, and pay the same into the said loan-ofifice. 

Sect. II. A citizen of the commonwealth, who is debtor to a 
British subject, may lodge the money due, or any part thereof, in 
the said loan-office, accounting sixteen pence of the lawful money 
of the commonwealth, or two-thirds of a dollar in bills of credit 
there current, equal to twelve pence of any such debt payable in 
the debtor's name, signed by the commissioner of the office, and 
delivering the same to the Governor, whose receipt shall discharge 
the debt, wholly or partly as the case may be. A state of all 
w^hich matters shall be laid before the General Assembly, when- 
ever they shall require it. If a citizen of the commonwealth, 
being a coparcener, jointenant, or tenant in common, with a 
British subject, bring a writ de partitione facienda in the General 
Court, or a suit for a partition by bill in equity, if that be the 
proper remedy in the High Court of Chancery, service of the 
process, against the tenant or defendant, upon the commissioner, 
for his estate, personally shall be deemed equivalent to service 
upon the party himself, and be as effectual to all purposes, save 
that if the partition thereupon made be without title, or unequal, 
which the commissioner shall endeavor to prevent, entering into 
the defence, or answering, and contesting the matter, for the 
tenant or defendant, and at his costs, the tenant or defendant 
shall not be concluded by the partition, unless the purparty 
assigned or allotted to the demandant or plaintiff shall be after- 
wards sold to a purchaser for valuable consideration, bonafide paid 
or agreed to be paid, in which case the tenant or defendant shall 
have redress against the demandant or plaintiff, or his represen- 
tatives, when the General Assembly shall hereafter allow suit to 
be brought for that purpose. 


Sect. III. Suits between British subjects only, demandants 
or plaintiffs and citizens of the commonwealth, tenants or defend- 
ants, which have not been, or shall not be, discontinued by acts 
of the parties, or abated by death, shall stand continued in the 
same condition as they were in on the twelfth day of April, in the 
year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy four ; 
and in suits between subjects and citizens, joint demandants or 
plaintiffs, and citizens, tenants or defendants, execution, as to the 
parts recovered on behalf of the subjects, shall be suspended, 
until further provision be made in the cases of both those classes : 
And in suits between such citizens only, or citizens and subjects 
jointly, tenants or defendants, the benefit of new trials or re-hear- 
ings, with future Legislative permission and direction, if it be 
then judged reasonable, shall be saved to the latter. 

(chapter LI.') 

Section. I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no 
person shall, henceforth, be slaves within this commonwealth, 
except such as were so on the first day of this present session of 
Assembly, and the descendants of the females of them. 

Sect. IL Negroes and mulattoes which shall hereafter be 
brought into this commonwealth and kept therein one whole year, 
together, or so long at different times as shall amount to one year, 
shall be free. But if they shall i^ot depart the commonwealth 
within one year thereafter they shall be out of the protection of 
the laws. 

Sect. IIL Those which shall come into this commonwealth 
of their own accord shall be out of the protection of the laws ; 
save only such as being seafaring persons and navigating vessels 
hither, shall not leave the same while here more than twenty four^ 
hours together. 

' For the intention of the revisors in regard to this bill, see Notes on Virginia, 
Query xiv, p. 250 ; and Jefferson's Autobiography, i, 67. 


Skct. IV. It shall not be lawful for any person to emancipate 
a slave but by deed executed, proved and recorded as is required 
by law in the case of a conveyance of goods and chattels, on con- 
sideration not deemed valuable in law, or by last will and testa- 
ment, and with the free consent of such slave, expressed in pres- 
ence of the court of the county wherein he resides. And if such 
slave, so emancipated, shall not within one year thereafter, depart 
the commonwealth, he shall be out of the protection of the laws. 
All conditions, restrictions and limitations annexed to any act of 
emancipation shall be void from the time such emancipation is to 
take place. 

Sect. V. If any white woman shall have a child by a negro 
or mulatto, she and her child shall depart the commonwealth with- 
in one year thereafter. If they shall fail so to do, the woman 
shall be out of the protection of the laws, and the child shall be 
bound out by the Aldermen of the county, in like manner as poor 
orphans are by law directed to be, and within one year after its 
term of service expired shall depart the commonwealth, or on 
failure so to do, shall be out of the protection of the laws. 

Sect. VI. Where any of the persons before described shall be 
disabled from departing the commonwealth by grievous sickness, 
the protection of the law shall be continued to him until such 
disability be removed : And if the county shall in the meantime, 
incur any expense in taking care of him, as of other county poor, 
the Aldermen shall be intitled to recover the same from his mas- 
ter, if he had one, his heirs, executors and administrators. 

Sect. VII. No negro or mulatto shall be a witness except in 
pleas of the commonwealth against negroes or mulattoes, or in 
civil pleas wherein negroes or mulattoes alone shall be parties. 

Sect. VIII. No slave shall go from the tenements of his mas- 
ter, or other person with whom he lives, without a pass, or some 
letter or token whereby it may appear that he is proceeding by 
authority from his master, employer, or overseer : If he does, it 
shall be lawful for any person to apprehend and carry him before 
a Justice of the Peace, to be by his order punished with stripes, 
or not, in his discretion. 

Sect. IX. No slaves shall keep any arms whatever, nor pass, 
unless with written orders from his master or employer, or in his 


company, with arms from one place to another. Arms in posses- 
sion of a slave contrary to this prohibition shall be forfeited to 
him who will seize them. 

Sect. X. Riots, routs, unlawful assemblies, trespasses and 
seditious speeches by a negro or mulatto shall be punished 
with stripes at the discretion of a Justice of the Peace ; and he 
who will may apprehend and carry him before such Justice. 


(chapter lxiv.') 

Section I. Whereas it frequently happens that wicked and 
dissolute men, resigning themselves to the dominion of inordinate 
passions, commit violations on the lives, liberties, and property 

• The text of this act is printed from that in the Report of the Revisors, but 
Jefferson's notes are printed from a MS. copy in his handwriting, now in the 
Department of State, the text of which differs however materially from the bill 
as here printed, and which will be found in Washington's edition, I, 147. Of 
this bill, he wrote to Wythe : 

" MONTICELLO, November ist, 1778. 

" Dear Sir, — I have got through the bill for ' proportioning crimes and pun- 
ishments in cases heretofore capital,' and now enclose it to you with a request 
that you will be so good, as scrupulously to examine and correct it, that it may 
be presented to our committee with as few defects as possible. In its style, I 
have aimed at accuracy, brevity, and simplicity, preserving, however, the very 
words of the established law, wherever their meaning had been sanctioned by 
judicial decisions, or rendered technical by usage. The same matter, if couched 
in the modern statutory language, with all its tautologies, redundancies, and 
circumlocutions, would have spread itself over many pages, and been unintelli- 
gible to those whom it most concerns. Indeed, I wished to exhibit a sample of 
reformation in the barbarous style into which modern statutes have degenerated 
from their ancient simplicity. And I must pray you to be as watchful over what 
I have not said, as what is said ; for the omissions of this bill have all their posi- 
tive meaning. I have thought it better to drop, in silence, the laws we mean 
to discontinue, and let them be swept away by the general negative words of 
this, than to detail them in clauses of express repeal. By the side of the text I 
have written the notes I made, as I went along, for the benefit of my own mem- 
ory. They may serve to draw your attention to questions, to which the expres- 
sions or the omissions of the text may give rise. The extracts from the Anglo- 
Saxon laws, the sources of the Common law, I wrote in their original, for my 



of others, and the secure enjoyment of these having principally 
induced men to enter into society, government would be defective 
in its principal purpose, were it not to restrain such criminal acts 
by inflicting due punishments on those who perpetrate them ; but 
it a])[)ears at the same time equally deducible from the purposes of 
society, that a member thereof, committing an inferior injury, does 
not wholly forfeit the protection of his fellow citizens, but after 
suffering a punishment in proportion to his offence, is entitled 
to their protection from all greater pain, so that it becomes a 
duty in the Legislature to arrange in a proper scale the crimes 
which it may be necessary for them to repress, and to ad- 
just thereto a corresponding gradation of punishments. And 
\vhereas the reformation of offenders, though an object worthy 
the attention of the laws, is not effected at all by capital punish- 
ments which exterminate instead of reforming, and should be 
the last melancholy resource against those whose existence is 
become inconsistent with the safety of their fellow citizens ; which 
also weaken the State by cutting off so many, who, if reformed, 
might be restored sound members to society, who, even under a 
course of correction, might be rendered useful in various labours 
for the public, and would be, living, and long-continued spectacles 
to deter others from committing the like offences. And foras- 
much as the experience of all ages and countries hath shewn, that 
cruel and sanguinary laws defeat their own purpose, by engaging 

own satisfaction ; but I have added Latin, or liberal English translations. 
From the time of Canute to that of the Magna Charta, you know, the text of 
our statutes is preserved to us in Latin only, and some old French. 

" I have strictly observed the scale of punishments settled by the Committee, 
without being entirely satisfied with it. The Lex Talionis, although a restitu- 
tion of the Common law, to the simplicity of which we have generally found it 
so advantageous to return, will be revolting to the humanized feelings of mod- 
ern times. An eye for an eye, and a hand for a hand, will exhibit spectacles in 
execution whose moral effect would be questionable ; and even the membnitn 
pro mevibro of Bracton, or the punishment of the ofTending member, although 
long authorized by our law, for the same offence in a slave has, you know, been 
not long since repealed in conformity with public sentiment. This needs 

The Saxon character in which a part of his notes are written is here given 
in Roman. Cf. Jefferson's Autobiography, i, 62 ; and N^oles on Virginia, 
Query xiv, p. 265. 


the benevolence of mankind to withhold prosecutions, to smother 
testimony, or to listen to it with bias ; and by producing in many 
instances a total dispensation and impunity under the nan:ies of 
pardon and privilege of clergy : when, if the punishment were 
only proportioned to the injury, men would feel it their inclina- 
tion, as well as their duty, to see the laws observed ; and the 
power of dispensation, so dangerous and mischievous, which pro- 
duces crimes by holding up a hope of impunity, might totally be 
abolished, so that men while contemplating to perpetrate a crime 
would see their punishment ensuing as necessarily as effects 
follow their causes ' ; for rendering crimes and punishments, 
therefore, more proportionate to each other, 

Sfxt. II. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no crime 
shall be henceforth punished by the deprivation of life or limb,' 
except those herein after ordained to be so punished. 

Sect. III. 'If a man do levy war' against the Commonwealth 
[/■« the same], or be adherent to the enemies of the Commonwealth 
\within the same]," giving to them aid or comfort in the Common- 

' From the word " observed " in this sentence, to this point, is omitted in the 
MS. copy before mentioned. 

' This takes away the punishment of cutting off the hand of a person striking 
another, or drawing his sword in one of the superior courts of justice. Stamf. 
P. C. 38. 33. H. 8. c. 12. In an earlier stage of the Common law. it was death. 
Gif hwa gefeohte on Cyninges huse sy he scyldig ealles his yrfes, and sy on 
Cyninges dome hwsether he lif age de nage ; si quis in regis domo pugnet, per- 
dat omnem suam hsereditatem, et in regis sit arbitrio, possideat vitam an non 
possideat. LI. Inae. 6. Gif hwa on Cyninges healle gefeohte, oththe his wrepne 
gebrede, and hine mon gefo, sy thset on Cyninges dome swa death, swa lif, swa 
he him forgyfan wille : si quis in aula regia pugnet, vel arma sua extrahat et 
capiatur, sit in regis arbitrio tam mors quam vita, sicut ei condonare voluerit. 
LI. Alfr. 7, Gif hwa on Cyninges hirede gefeohte tholige thtet lifes, buton se 
Cyning him gearian vi-ille : si quis in regia dimicat, perdat vitam, nisi rex hoc 
illi condonare velit. LI. Cnuti. 56. 4. Bl. 125.— 7". J. 
' 25. E. 3. St. 5. c. 2. 7. W. 3. c. 3. § 2,— r. J. 

■• Though the crime of an accomplice in treason is not here described, yet, 
Lord Coke says, the partaking and maintaining a treason herein described, 
makes him a principal in that treason : it being a rule that in treason all are 
principals. 3 Inst. 138. 2 Inst. 590. i H. 6. 5-— ^- 7- 

' The words in brackets are inserted by Jefferson in i\^&MS. copy already 
alluded to. The following explanation is added : 

" These words in the English statute narrow its operation. A man adhering 

2o6 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

wealth, or elsewhere, and thereof be convicted, of open deed, by 
the evidence of two sufficient and lawful witnesses, or his own 
voluntary confession, the said cases, and no ' others, shall be 
adjudged treasons which extend to the commonwealth, and the 
person so convicted shall suffer death, by hanging," and shall 
forfeit his lands and goods to the commonwealth. 

Skct. IV. If any person commit petty treason, or a husband 
murder his wife, a parent' his child, or a child his parent, he 

to the enemies of the Commonwealth, in a foreign country, would certainly not 
be guilty of treason with us, if these words be retained. The convictions of 
treason of that kind in England have been under that branch of the statute 
which makes the compassing the king's death treason. Foster 196, 197. But 
as we omit that branch, we must by other means reach this flagrant case." 

—T. y. 

' The Stat. 25. E. 3. directs all other cases of treasons to await the opinion of 
Parliament. This has the effect of negative words, excluding all other trea- 
sons. As we drop that part of the statute, we must, by negative words, prevent 
an inundation of common law treasons. I strike out the word " it," therefore, 
and insert "the said cases, and no others." Quaere, how far those negative 
words may effect the case of accomplices above mentioned? Though if their 
case was within the statute, so as that it needed not await the opinion of Parlia- 
ment, it should seem to be also within our act, so as not be ousted by the nega- 
tive words. — T. y. 

'' This implies " by the neck." See 2 Hawk. 544 notes n. o. — T. y. 

^ By the stat. 21. Jac. i. c. 27. and Act Ass. 1170. c. 12. concealment by the 
mother of the death of a bastard child is made murder. In justification of this, 
it is said, that shame is a feeling which operates so strongly on the mind, as fre- 
quently to induce the mother of such a child to murder it, in order to conceal 
her disgrace. The act of concealment, therefore, proves she was influenced by 
shame, and that influence produces a presumption that she murdered the child. 
The effect of this law then is, to make what, in its nature, is only presumptive 
evidence of a murder conclusive of that fact. To this I answer, i. So many 
children die before or soon after birth, that to presume all those murdered who 
are found dead, is a presumption which will lead us oftener wrong than right, 
and consequently would shed more blood than it would save. 2. If the child 
were born dead, the mother would naturally choose rather to conceal it, in 
hopes of still keeping a good character in the neighborhood. So that the act 
of concealment is far from proving the guilt of murder on the mother. 3. If 
shame be a powerful affection of the mind, is not parental love also? Is it not 
the strongest affection known? Is it not greater than even that of self-preser- 
vation ? While we draw presumptions from shame, one affection of the mind 
against the life of the prisoner, should we not give some weight to presump- 


shall suffer death, by hanging, and his body be delivered to 
Anatomists to be dissected. 

Sect. V. Whosoever committeth murder by poisoning, shall 
suffer death by poison. 

Sect. VI. Whosoever committeth murder by way of duel, shall 
suffer death by hanging ; and if he were the challenger, his body, 
after death, shall be gibbetted.' He who removeth it from the 
gibbet shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and the officer shall see 
that it be replaced. 

Skct. VII. WHiosoever shall commit murder in any other way 
shall suffer death by hanging. 

StCT. VIII. And in all cases of Petty treason and murder, 
one half of the lands and goods of the offender shall be forfeited 
to the next of kin to the person killed, and the other half descend 
and go to his own representatives. Save only, where one shall 
slay the challenger in a duel,^ in which case, no part of his lands 
or goods shall be forfeited to the kindred of the party slain, but 
instead thereof, a moiety shall go to the commonwealth. 

tions from parental love, an affection at least as strong, in favor of life? If 
concealment of the fact is a presumptive evidence of murder, so strong as to 
overbalance all other evidence that may possibly be produced to take av/ay the 
presumption, why not trust the force of this incontestable presumption to the 
jury, who are, in a regular course, to hear presumptive, as well as positive 
testimony ? If the presumption arising from the act of concealment, may be 
destroyed by proof positive or circumstantial to the contrary, why should the 
legislature preclude that contrary proof ? Objection. The crime is difficult to 
prove, being usually committed in secret. Answer. But circumstantial proof 
will do ; for example, marks of violence, the behavior, countenance, &c. of the 
prisoner, &c. And if conclusive proof be difficult to be obtained, shall we 
therefore fasten irremovably upon equivocal proof ? Can we change the nature 
of what is contestable, and make it incontestable ? Can we make that con- 
clusive which God and nature have made inconclusive ? Solon made no law 
against parricide, supposing it impossible that any one could be guilty of it ; 
and the Persians, from the same opinion, adjudged all who killed their reputed 
parents to be bastards ; and although parental be yet stronger than filial affec- 
tion, we admit saticide proved on the most equivocal testimony, whilst they 
rejected all proof of an act certainly not more repugnant to nature, as of a thing 
impossible, unprovable. .See Bcccaria, § 31. — T. y. 

' 25. G. 2. c. 37-— 5^. 7- 

" Quaere, if the estates of both i)arties in a duel, should not be forfeited ? 
The deceased is equally guilty with a .suicide. — 'J'. J. 

2o8 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

Sect. IX. The same evidence* shall suffice, and order and 
course' of trial be observed in cases of Petty treason as in those 
of other ^ murders. 

Sect. X. Whosoever shall be guilty of manslaughter/ shall, 
for the first offence, be condemned to hard " labour for seven years 
in the public works ; shall forfeit one half of his lands and goods 
to the next of kin to the person slain ; the other half to be seques- 
tered during such term, in the hands, and to the use, of the com- 
monwealth, allowing a reasonable part of the profits for the 
support of his family. The second offence shall be deemed 

Sect. XI. And where persons meaning to commit a trespass' 

' Quaere, if these words may not be omitted? By the Common law, one wit- 
ness in treason was sufficient. Foster 233. Plowd. 8. a. Mirror c. 3. § 34. 
Waterhouse on Fortesc. de laud. 252. Carth. 144. per Holt. But Lord Coke, 
contra 3 inst. 26. The stat. i. E. 6. c. 12. & 5. E. 6. c. 11. first required two 
witnesses in treason. The clause against high treason supra, does the same as 
to high treason ; but it seems if 1st and 5th E. 6. are dropped, Petty treason 
will be tried and proved, as at Common law, by one witness. But qusere, Lord 
Coke being contra, whose opinion it is ever dangerous to neglect. — T. J. 

- These words are intended to take away the peremptory challenge of thirty- 
five jurors. The same words being used i. 2. Ph. & M. c. 10. are deemed to 
have restored the peremptory challenge in high treason ; and consequently are 
sufficient to take it away. Foster 237. — T. J. 

^ Petty treason is considered in law only as an aggravated murder. Foster 
107. 323. A pardon of all murders, pardons Petty treason, i Hale P. C. 378. 
see 2 H. P. C. 340. 342. It is also included in the word " felony," so that a 
pardon of all felonies, pardons Petty treason. — T. J. 

■• Manslaughter is punishable at law, Ijy burning in the hands, and forfeiture 
of chattels.— r. J. 

* It is best, in this act, to lay down principles only, in order that it may not 
forever be undergoing change ; and, to carry into effect the minuter parts of it, 
frame a bill " for the employment and government of felons, or malefactors, 
condemned to labor for the Commonwealth," which may serve as an Appendix 
to this, and in which all the particulars requisite may be directed ; and as ex- 
perience will, from time to time, be pointing out amendments, these may be 
made without touching this fundamental act. See More's Utopia p. 50. for 
some good hints. Fugitives might, in such a bill, be obliged to work two days 
for everj' one they absent themselves. — T. y. 

* The shooting at a wild fowl, and killing a man, is homicide by misadven- 
ture. Shooting at a pullet, without any design to take it away, is manslaughter ; 
and with a design to take it away, is murder. 6 Sta. tr. 222. To shoot at the 


only, or larceny, or other unlawful deed, and doing an act from 
which involuntary homicide hath ensued, have heretofore been 
adjudged guilty of manslaughter or of murder, by transferring 
such their unlawful intention to an act, much more penal than 
they could have in probable contemplation ; no such case shall 
hereafter be deemed manslaughter unless manslaughter was 
intended, nor murder, unless murder was intended. 

Sect. XII. In other cases of homicide the law will not add to 
the miseries of the party, by punishments or forfeitures.' 

poultry of another, and thereby set fire to his house, is arson, in the opinion of 
some. Dalt. c. 116. i. Hale's P. C. 569. c. contra. — 7". J. 

' Beccaria. § 32. Suicide. Homicides are, i. Justifiable. 2. Excusable. 
3. Felonious. For the last, punishments have been already provided. The 
first are held to be totally without guilt, or rather commendable. The second 
are in some cases not quite unblamable. These should subject the party to 
marks of contrition ; viz., the killing of a man in defence of property ; so also 
in defence of one's person, which is a species of excusable homicide ; because, 
although cases may happen where these also are commendable, yet most fre- 
quently they are done on too slight appearance of danger ; as in return for a 
blow, kick, fillip, &c.; or on a person's getting into a house, not animo furandi, 
but perhaps veneris causa, &c. Bracton says, "si quis furem nocturnum Occi- 
dent, ita demum impune foret, si parcere ei sine periculo suo non potuit, si 
autem potuit, aliter erit." " Item erit si quis hamsokne quae dicitur invasio 
domus contra pacem domini regis in domo sua se defenderit, et invasor occisus 
fuerit ; impersecutus et insultus remanebit, si ille quern invasit aliter se defen- 
dere non potuit ; dicitur enim quod non est dignus habere pacem qui non vult 
observare eam." L. 3. c. 23. § 3. " Qui latronem occiderit, nontenetur, noc- 
turnum vel diurnum, si aliter periculum evadere non possit ; tenetur tamen si 
possit. Item non tenetur si per infortunium, et non animo et voluntate occi- 
dendi, nee dolus, nee culpa ejus inveniatur." L. 3. c. 36. § i. The stat. 24. 
H. 8. c. 5. is therefore merely declaratory of the Common law. See on the 
general subject PuiTend. 2. 5. § 10. il. 12. 16. 17. Excusable homicides are 
by misadventure, or in self-defence. It is the opinion of some lawyers, that 
the Common law punished these with death, and that the statute of Marlbridge 
c. 26. and Gloucester, c. 9. first took away this by giving them title to a pardon, 
as matter of right, and a writ of restitution of their goods. See 2. Inst. 148. 
315. 3. Inst. 55. Bracton L. 3. c. 4. §2. Fleta L. i. c. 23. § 14. I5- 21. E. 3. 
23. But it is believed never to have been capital, i. H. P. C. 425. i Hawk. 
75. Foster, 282. 4. Bl. 188. It seems doubtful also, whether at Common law, 
the party forfeited all his chattels in this case, or only paid a weregild. Foster, 
ubi supra, doubts, and thinks it of no consequence, as the statute of Gloucester 
entitles the party to Royal grace, which goes as well to forfeiture as life. To 


Sect, XIII. Whenever sentence of death shall have been pro- 
nounced against any person for treason or murder, execution 
thereof shall be done on the next day but one, after such sentence, 
unless it be Sunday, and then on the Monday following.' 

Sect. XIV. Whosoever shall be guilty of rape," VpolyS- 

me there seems no reason for calling these excusable homicides, and the killing 
a man in defence of property, a justifiable homicide. The latter is less guiltless 
than misadventure or self-defence. 

Suicide is by law punishable by forfeiture of chattels. This bill exempts it 
from forfeiture. The suicide injures the State less than he who leaves it with 
his effects. If the latter then be not punished, the former should not. As to 
the example, we need not fear its influence. Men are too much attached to life, 
to exhibit frequent instances of depriving themselves of it. At any rate, the 
quasi-punishment of confiscation will not prevent it. For if one be found who 
can calmly determine to renounce life, who is so weary of his existence here, as 
rather to make experiment of what is beyond the grave, can we suppose him, 
in such a state of mind, susceptible of influence from the losses to his family 
from confiscation ? That men in general, too, disapprove of this severity, is ap- 
parent from the constant practice of juries finding the suicide in a state of 
insanity ; because they have no other way of saving the forfeiture. Let it then 
be done away. — T. J. 

' Beccaria. § 19. 25. G. 2. c. 31.— T. J. 

' 13. E. r. c. 34. Forcible abduction of a woman having substance is felony 
by 3. H. 7. c. 2. 3 Inst. 61. 4 Bl. 208. If goods be taken, it will be felony as 
to them, without this statute ; and as to the abduction of the woman, quaere if 
not better to leave that, and also kidnapping, 4. Bl. 219. to the Common law 
remedies, viz., fine, imprisonment, and pillory, Raym. 474. 2 Show. 221. 
Skin. 47. Comb. 10. the writs of Homine replegiando, Capias in Withernam, 
Habeas corpus, and the action of trespass ? Rape was felony at the Common 
law. 3. Inst. 60. but see 2. Inst. 181. further — for its definition see 2. Inst. 
180. Bracton, L. 3. c. 28. § i. says the punishment of rape is " amissio mem- 
brorum, ut sit membrum pro membro, quia virgo, cum corrumpitur, membrum 
amittit, et ideo corruptor puniatur in eo in quo deliquit ; oculus igitur amittat 
propter aspectum decoris quo virginem concupivit ; amittat et testiculos qui 
calorem stupri induxerunt. Olim quidem corruptores virginitatis et castitatis 
suspendebantur et eorum fautores, &c. Modernis tamen temporibus aliter 
observatur," &c. And Fleta, "solet justiciarius pro quolibet mahemio ad 
amissionem testiculorum vel oculorum convictum condemnare, sed non sine er- 
rore, eo quod id judicium nisi in corruptione virginum tantum competebat ; 
nam pro virginitatis corruptione solebant abscidi et merito judiciari, ut sic pro 
membro quod abstulit, membrum per quod deliquit amitteret, viz., testiculos, 
qui calorem stupri induxerunt," &c. Fleta, L. i. c. 40. §4. " Gif theow 
man theowne to nydhed genyde, gabte mid his eowende : " Si servus servam 

1779] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 2 1 1 

amy^^A^ or sodomy ^ with man or woman, shall be punished ; if a man, 
by castration,^ if a woman, by boring ^ through the cartilage of her 
nose a hole of one half inch in diameter at the least. 

ad stuprum coegerit, compenset hoc virga sua virili. Si quis puellam," &c. 
LI. Aelfridi. 25. " Hi purgist femme per forze forfait ad les membres. LI. 
Gui. conq. 19. In Dyer, 305, a man was indicted, and found guilty of a rape 
on a girl of seven years old. The court " doubted of the rape of so tender a 
girl ; but if she had been nine years old, it would have been otherwise." 14. 
Eliz.- Therefore the statute 18. Eliz. c. 6. says, " For plain declaration of law, 
be it enacted, that if any person shall unlawfully and carnally know and abuse 
any woman child, under the age of ten years, &c., he shall suffer as a felon, 
without allowance of clergy." Lord Hale, however, i. P. C. 630. thinks it 
rape independent of that statute, to know carnally, a girl under twelve, the age 
of consent. Yet 4. Bl. 212. seems to neglect this opinion ; and as it was 
founded on the words of 3. E. i. c. 13. and this is with us omitted, the offence 
of carnally knowing a girl under twelve, or ten years of age, will not be 
distinguished from that of any other. — T. J. 

' This word was not in the Report of the Revisors, but was inserted by 
Jefferson in the MS. copy already alluded to. He adds as notes to it : " i. Jac. 
I. c. II. Polygamy was not penal till the statute i. Jac. The law contented 
itself with the nullity of the act. 4. Bl. 163. 3. Inst. 88." 

" But no one shall be punished for Polygamy, who shall have married after 
probable information of the death of his or her husband or wife, or after his or 
her husband or wife, hath absented him or herself, so that no notice of his or 
her being alive hath reached such person for seven years together, or hath 
suffered the punishments before prescribed for rape, polygamy, or sodomy." 

^ § 25. H. 8. c. 6. Buggery is twofold, i. With mankind, 2. with beasts. 
Buggery is the Genus, of which Sodomy and Bestiality, are the species. 12. 
Co. 37. says, " note that Sodomy is with mankind." But Finch's L. B. 3. c. 24. 
" Sodomiary is a carnal copulation against nature, to wit, of man or woman in 
the same sex, or of either of them with beasts." 12. Co. 36. says, " it appears 
by the ancient authorities of the law that this was felony." Yet the 25. H. 8. 
declares it felony, as if supposed not to be so. Britton, c. 9. says, that Sodo- 
mites are to be burnt. F. N. B. 269. b. Fleta, L. i. c. 37. says, "pecorantes 
et Sodomitae in terra vivi confodiantur." The Mirror makes it treason. 
Bestiality can never make any progress ; it cannot therefore be injurious to 
society in any great degree, which is the true measure of criminality in foro 
civili, and will ever be properly and severely punished, by universal derision. 
It may, therefore, be omitted. It was anciently punished with death, as it has 
been latterly. LI. Aelfrid. 31. and 25. H. 8. c. 6. see Beccaria. § 31. 
Montesq. — T. y. 

' Bracton, Fleta, 8lc.— T. J. 

* Altered to " cutting " in MS. copy. 



Sect. XV. Whosoever on purpose," shall disfigure another, by 
cutting out or disabling the tongue, slitting or cutting off a nose, 
lip, or ear, branding, or otherwise, shall be maimed, or disfigured 
in like ' sort ; or if that cannot be, for want of the same part, then 
as nearly as may be, in some other part of at least equal value and 
estimation, in the opinion of a jury, and moreover, shall forfeit 
one half of his lands and goods to the sufferer. 

Sect. XVI. Whosoever shall counterfeit ' any coin current by 

' In the MS. copy the words " and of mahce forethought shall maim another, 
or " are added here, and a note on this is : 

" 22. 23. Car. 2. c. I. Maiming was felony at the Common law. Britton, 
c. 25. ' Mahemium autem did poteri, aubia aliquis in aliqua parte sui corporis 
Ixsionem acceperit, per quam affectus sit inutilis ad pugnandum : ut si manus 
amputetur, vel pes, oculus privetur, vel scerda de osse capitis laveter, vel si 
quis dentes praecisores amiserit, vel castratus fuerit, et talis pro mahemiato 
poterit adjudicari.' Fleta L. i. c. 40. ' Et volons que nul maheme ne soit 
tenus forsque de membre toilet dount home es plus feble a combatre, sicome 
del oyl, ou de la mayn, ou del pie, ou de la tete debruse, ou de les dentz devant." 
Britton, c. 25. For further definitions, see Bracton, L. 3. c. 24 § 3. 4. Finch 
L. B. 3. c. 12. Co. L. 126. a. b. 288. a. 3. Bl. 121. 4. Bl. 205. Stamf. P. C. 
L. I.e. 41. I do not find any of these definitions confine the offence to wilful and 
malicious perpetrations of it. 22. 23. Car. 2. c. i. called the Coventry act, 
has the words ' on purpose and of malice forethought.' Nor does the Common 
law prescribe the same punishment for disfiguring, as for maiming."— T. J. 

'' The punishment was by retaliation. " Et come ascun appele serra de tele 
felonie atteint et attende jugement, si soit le judgment tiel que il perde autriel 
membre come il avera toilet al pleintyfe. Et sy la pleynte soi faite de femme 
que avera toilet a home ses membres, en tiel cas perdra la femme la une meyn 
par jugement, come le membre dount ele axera trespasse." Britton, c. 25. 
Fleta, B i. c. 40. LI. JEUt. 19. 40.— T. J. 

» 25. E. 3. St. 5 c. 2. 5. El. c. II. 18. El. c. I. 8. g.W. 3. c. 26. 15. 16. G. 2. c. 28. 
7. Ann. c. 25. By the laws of ^Ethelstan and Canute, this was punished by 
cutting off the hand. " Gif se mynetere ful wurthe slea man tha hand of, the 
he that ful mid worthe and sette uppon tha mynet smiththan." In English 
characters and words " if the minter foul [criminal] wert, slay the hand off, 
that he the foul [crime] with wrought, and set upon the mint-smithery." LI. 
Aethelst. 14. " Et si quis praeter banc, falsam fecerit, perdat manum quacum 
falsam confecit." LI. Cnuti. 8. It had been death by the 1,1. ^thelredi sub 
fine. By those of H. i. "si quis cum falso denario inventus fuerit — fiat justi- 
tiamea, saltem de dextro pugno et de testiculis." Anno 1108. Operae pretium 
vero est audire quam severus rex fuerit in pravos. Monetarios enim fere omnes 
totius Anglise fecit ementulari, et manus dextras abscindi, quia monetam 


law within this commonwealth, or any paper bills issued in the 
nature of money, or of certificates of loan, on the credit of this 
commonwealth, or of all or any of the United States of America, 
or any Inspectors' notes for tobacco, or shall pass any such 
counterfeited coin, paper bills, or notes, knowing them to be 
counterfeit ; or, for the sake of lucre, shall diminish ^ each, or 
any such coin, shall be condemned to hard labour six years in the 
public works, and shall forfeit all his lands and goods to the 

Sect. XVII. The making false any such paper bill, or note, 
shall be deemed counterfeiting. 

Sect. XVIII. ^ Whosoever committeth arson, shall be con- 
demned to hard labour five years in the public works, and shall 
make good the loss of the sufferers threefold." 

furtive corruperant. Wilkins ib. et anno 1125. When the Common law 
became settled, it appears to have been punishable by death. " Est aluid 
genus criminis quod sub nomine falsi continetur, et tangit coronam domini 
regis, et ultimum inducit supplicium, sicut de illis qui falsam fabricant mone- 
tam, et qui de re non reproba, faciunt reprobam ; sicut sunt retonsores denario- 
rum. Bract. L. 3. c S:^ 2. Fleta, L. r. c. 22. § 4. Lord Hale thinks it was 
deemed petty treason at common law. i. H. P. C. 220. 224. The bringing 
in false money with intent to merchandize, and make payment of it, is treason, 
by 25. E. 3. But the best proof of the intention, is the act of passing it, and 
why not leave room for repentance here, as in other cases of felonies intended ? 
I. H. P. C. 229.— r. J. 

* Clipping, filing, rounding, impairing, scaling, lightening, (the words in the 
statutes) are included in " diminishing ; " gilding, in the word "casing;" 
coloring in the word "washing;" and falsifying, or making, is "counter- 
feiting."—/^, y. 

3 43 L. c. 13. confined to four counties. 22. 23. Car. 2. c. 7. 9. G. i. c. 22. 

9. G. 3- c. 29.-7-. y. 

■* Arson was a felony at Common law — 3. Inst. 66 ; punished by a fine, LI. 
Aethelst. 6. But LI. Cnuti, 61. make it a " scelus inexpiable." " Hus brec 
and baemet and open thyfth seberemorth and hlaford svvice cefter woruld laga 
is botleds." Word for word, "house break and burnt, and open theft, and 
manifest murther, and lord-treachery, afterworld's law is bootless." Bracton 
says it was punished by death. " Si quis turbida seditione incendium fecerit 
nequiter et in felonia, vel ob inimicitias, vel praedandi causa, capitali puniatur 
poena vel sententia." Bract. L. 3. 27. He defines it as commissible by burn- 
ing " aedes alienas. " Ib. Britten, c. 9. " Ausi soit enquis de ceux que 
felonisement en temps de pees eient autre blees ou autre mesons ars, et ceux que 

214 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

Sect. XIX. If any person shall, within this Commonwealth, or, 
being a citizen thereof, shall without the same, wilfully destroy ' 
or run'"" away with any sea-vessel, or goods laden on board 
thereof, or plunder or pilfer any wreck, he shall be condemned 
to hard labour five years in the public works, and shall make good 
the loss of the sufferers threefold. 

Sect. XX. Whosoever committeth a robbery,' shall be con- 
demned to hard labour four years in the public works, and shall 
make double reparation to the persons injured. 

Sect. XXI. Whatsoever act, if committed on any mansion- 
house, would be deemed a burglary, * shall be burglary, if com- 

serrount de ceo atteyntz, soient ars issint que eux soient punys par mesme cele 
chose dount ilz pecherent." Fleta, L. i. c. 37. is a copy of Bracton. The 
Mirror c. i. § 8. says, " Ardours sont que ardent citie, ville, maison home, 
maison beast, ou auters chatelx, de lour felonie en temps de pace pour haine 
ou vengeance." Again, c. 2. § il. pointing out the words of the appellor " jeo 
disc que Sebright, &c. , entiel meason ou bicns mist de feu." Coke 3. Inst. 67. 
says, " the ancient authors extended this felony further than houses, viz., to 
sacks of corn, waynes or carts of coal, wood or other goods." He denies it as 
commissible, not only on the inset houses, parcel of the mansion house, but the 
outset also, as barn, stable, cowhouse, sheep house, dairy house, mill house, 
and the like, parcel of the mansion house. But " burning of a barn, being no 
parcel of a mansion house, is no felony," unless there be com or hay within it. 
lb. The 22. 23. Car. 2. and 9. G. i. are the principal statutes against arson. 
They extend the offence beyond the Common law. — T. J. 

' I. Ann. St. 2. c. 9. 12. A»n. c. 18. 4. G. i. c. 12. 26. G. 2. c. 19. — T. J. 

* II. 12. W. 3. c. 7. 

^ Robbery was a felony at Common law. 3 Inst. 68. " Scelus inexpiable," 
by the LI. Cnuti. 61. [See before in Arson.] It was punished with death. 
Britt. c. 15, " de robbours et de larouns et de semblables mesfesours, soit ausi 
ententivement enquis — et tauntost soient ceux robbours juges a la mort. " 
Fleta says, "si quis convictus fuerit de bonis viri robbatis vel asportatis ad 
sectam regis judicium capitale subibit. L. i. c. 39. See also Bract. L. 
3. c. 32. §1.-7^. 7. 

* Burglary was felony at the Common law. 3 Inst. 63. It was not distin- 
guished by ancient authors, except the Mirror, from simple House-breaking, ib. 
65. Burglary and House-breaking were called " Hamsockne diximus etiam de 
pacis violatione et de immunitatibus domus, si quis hoc in posterum fecerit ut 
perdat omne quod habet, et sit in regis arbitrio utrum vitam habeat. Eac we 
quaedon be mundbryce and be ham socnum, sethe hit ofer this do thset he dolie 
ealles thses the age, and sy on Cyninges dome hwsether he life age ; and we 
quoth of mound-breach, and of home-seeking he who it after this do, that he 


mitted on any other house ; and he who is guilty of burglary, shall 
be condemned to hard labour four years in the public works, and 
shall make double reparation to the persons injured. 

Sect. XXII. Whatsoever act, if committed in the night time, 
shall constitute the crime of burglary, shall, if committed in the 
day, be deemed house-breaking ' ; and whoever is guilty thereof, 
shall be condemned to hard labour three years in the public 
works, and shall make reparation to the persons injured. 

Sect. XXIII. Whosoever shall be guilty of horse-stealing," 

dole all that he owe [owns], and is in king's doom whether he life owes [owns.] 
LI. Eadmundi. c. 6. and see LI. Cnuti. 61. "husbrec," in notes on Arson, 
ante. A Burglar was also called a Burgessor. " Et soit enquis de Burgessours 
et sunt tenus Burgessours trestous ceux que felonisement en temps de pees 
debrusont esglises ou auter mesons, ou murs ou portes de nos cytes, ou de nos 
Burghes." Britt. c. 10. " Burglaria est nocturna diruptio habitaculi alicujus, 
vel ecclesise, etiam murorum, partarumve civitatis aut burgi, ad feloniam ali- 
quam perpetrandam. Noctanter dico, recentiores secutus ; veteres enim hoc 
non adjungunt. Spelm. gloss, verb. Burglaria. It was punished with death. 
lb. citn. from the office of a Coroner. It may be committed in the outset 
houses, as well as inset. 3 Inst. 65. though not under the same roof or contig- 
uous, provided they be within the Curtilage or Homestall. 4 Bl. 225. As by 
the Common law, all felonies were clergiable, the stat. 23 H. 8. c. i. 5. E. 6. 
c. 9. and 18 El. c. 7. first distinguished them, by taking the clerical privilege 
of impunity from the principals, and 3. 4. W. M. c. 9. from accessories before 
the fact. No statute defines what Burglary is. The 12 Ann. c. 7. decides the 
doubt whether, where breaking is subsequent to entry, it is Burglary. Bacon's 
Elements had afifirmed, and i. H. P. C. 554. had denied it. Our bill must 
distinguish them by different degrees of punishment. — T. J. 

' At the Common law, the offence of Housebreaking was not distinguished 
from Burglary, and neither of them from any other larceny. The statutes at 
first took away clergy from Burglary, which made a leading distinction between 
the two offences. Later statutes, however, have taken clergy from so many 
cases of Housebreaking, as nearly to bring the offences together again. These 
are 23 H. 8. c. i. i E. 6. c. 12. 5 and 6 E. 6. c. 9. 3 and 4 W. M. c. 9. 39 
El. c. 15. 10 and 11 W. 3 c. 23. 12 Ann. c. 7. See Barr. 428. 4 Bl. 240. The 
circumstances which in these statutes characterize the offence, seem to have 
been occasional and unsystematical. The houses on which Burglary may be 
committed, and the circumstances which constitute that crime being ascer- 
tained, it will be better to define Housebreaking by the same subjects and 
circumstances, and let the crimes be distinguished only by the hour at which 
they are committed, and the degree of punishment. — T. J. 

* The offence of Horse-stealing seems properly distinguishable from other 

2i6 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

shall be condemned to hard labour three years in the public works, 
and shall make reparation to the person injured. 

Sect. XXIV. Grand larceny ' shall be where the goods stolen 
are of the value of five dollars ; and whosoever shall be guilty 
thereof, shall be forthwith put in the pillory for one half hour, 
shall be condemned to hard labour' two years in the public works, 
and shall make reparation to the person injured. 

larcenies, here, where these animals generally run at large, the temptation 
being so great and frequent, and the facility of commission so remarkable. See 
I E. 6. c. 12. 23 E. 6. c. 33. 31 El. c. 12.— T. J. 

' The distinction between grand and petty larceny, is very ancient. At first 
8d. was the sum which constituted grand larceny. LI. Atheist, c. I. " Ne 
parcatur ulli furi, qui furtum manutenens captus sit, supra I2. annos nato, et 
supra 8. denarios." Afterwards, in the same king's reign it was raised to I2d. 
" non parcatur alicui furi ultra I2 denarios, et ultra 12 annos nato — ut occide- 
mus ilium et capiamus omne quod possidet, et imprimis sumamus rei furto 
ablatje pretium ab haerede, ac dividatur postea reliquum in duas partes, una 
pars uxori, si munda, et facinoris conscia non sit ; et residuum in duo, dimi- 
dium capiat rex, dimidium societas." LI. Aethelst. Wilkins, p. 65. — T. J. 

' LI. Inae. c. 7. " Si quis furetur ita ut uxor ejus et infans ipsius nesciant, 
solvat 60. solidos poense loco. Si autem furetur testantibus omnibus haeredibus 
suis, abeant omnes in servitutem." Ina was king of the West-Saxons, and 
began to reign A. C. 688. After the union of the Heptarchy, i. e. temp. 
Atheist, inter 924 and 940, we find it punishable with death as above. So it 
was inter 1017 and 1035, i. e. temp. Cnuti. Ll. Cnuti. 61. cited in notes on 
Arson. In the time of William the conqueror, it seems to have been made 
punishable by fine only. Ll. Gul. conq. apud Wilk. p. 218, 220. This com- 
mutation, however, was taken away by Ll. H. 1. anno 1108. "Si quis in 
furto vel latrocinio deprehensus fuisset, suspenderetur ; sublata wirgildorum, id 
est, pecuniaraj redemptionis lege." Larceny is the felonious taking and 
carrying away of the personal goods of another, i. As to the taking, the 3. 4. 
W. M. c. 9 § 5. is not additional to the Common law, but declaratory of it ; 
because where only the care or use, and not the possession, of things is 
delivered, to take them was larceny at the Common law. The 33 H. 6. c. i. 
and 21, \\. 8. c. 7. indeed, have added to the Common law, by making it 
larceny in a servant to convert things of his master's. But quaere, if they 
should be imitated more than as to other breaches of trust in general. 2. As 
to the subject of larceny, 4 G. 2. c. 32. 6 G. 3. c. 36. 48. 45. El. c. 7. 15 Car. 
2. c. 2. 23 G. 2. c. 26. 31 G. 2. c. 35. 9 G. 3. c. 41. 25 G. 2. c. 10. have 
extended larceny to things of various sorts either real, or fixed to the reality. 
But the enumeration is unsystematical, and in this country, where the produce 
of the earth is so spontaneous, as to have rendered things of this kind scarcely 


Sect. XXV. Petty larceny shall be, where the goods stolen are 
of less value than five dollars ; whosoever shall be guilty thereof, 
shall be forthwith put in the pillory for a quarter of an hour, shall 
be condemned to hard labour for one year in the public works, 
and shall make reparation to the persons injured. 

Sect. XXVI. Robbery' or larceny of bonds, bills obligatory, 
bills of exchange, or promissory notes, for the payment of money 
or tobacco, lottery tickets, paper bills issued in the nature of 
money, or certificates of loan on the credit of this common- 
wealth, or of all or any of the United States of America, or in- 
spectors notes for tobacco, shall be punished in the same manner 
as robbery or larceny of the money or tobacco due on, or repre- 
sented by such papers. 

Sect. XXVII. Buyers^ and receivers of goods taken by way of 
robbery or larceny, knowing them to have been so taken, shall be 
deemed accessaries to such robbery or larceny after the fact. 

Sect. XXVIII. Prison-breakers,' also, shall be deemed acces- 
saries after the fact, to traitors or felons whom they enlarge from 

a breach of civility or good manners, in the eyes of the people, quaere, if it 
would not too much enlarge the field of Criminal law ? The same may be 
questioned of 9 G. i. c. 22. 13 Car. 2. c. 10. 10 G. 2. c. 32. 5 G. 3. c. 14. 22 
and 23 Car. 2. c. 25. 37 E. 3. c. 19. making it felony to steal animals ferae 
naturae. — T. J. 

' 2 G. 2. c. 25 § 3. 7 G. 3. c. 50.— r. J. 

« 3. 4. W. M. c. 9. § 4. 5 Ann. c. 31. § 5- 4 G- i- c. 11. § i.—T. J. 

3 I E. 2.— T. J. 

* Breach of prison at the Common law was capital, without regard to the 
crime for which the party was committed. "Cum pro criminis qualitate in 
carcerem recepti fuerint, conspiraverint (ut ruptis vinculis aut fracto carcere) 
evadant, amplius (quam causa pro qua recepti sunt exposeit) puniendi sunt, 
videlicet ultimo supplicio, quamvis ex eo crimine innocentes inveniantur, prop- 
ter quod inducti sunt in carcerem et imparcati. Bracton L. 3. c. 9. § 4. Britt. 
c. II. Fleta, L. i. c. 26. g 4. Yet in the Y. B. Hill. i. H. 7. 2. Hussey says, 
that by the opinion of Billing and Coke, and all the justices, it was a felony 
in strangers only, but not in the prisoner himself. S. C. Fitz. Abr. Coron. 48. 
They are the principal felons, not accessaries, ib. Whether it was felony 
in the prisoner at Common law, is doubted. Stam. P. C. 30. b. The Mirror 
c. 5. § I, says, " abusion est a tener escape de prisoner, ou de bruserie del gaole 
pur peche mortell, car eel usage nest garrant per nul ley, ne in nul part est use 

2i8 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

Sect. XXIX. All attempts to delude the people, or to abuse 
their understanding by exercise of the pretended arts of witch- 
craft, conjuration, enchantment, or sorcery, or by pretended 
prophecies, shall be punished by ducking and whipping, at the 
discretion of a jury, not exceeding fifteen stripes.' 

Sect. XXX. If the principal offenders be fled,^ or secreted from 
justice, in any case not touching life or member, the accessaries 
may, notwithstanding, be prosecuted as if their principal were 

forsque in cest realme, et en France, eins [mais] est ku garrantie de ceo faire per 
la ley denature." 2 Inst. 589. The stat. i. E. 2. de fraugentibus prisonam, re- 
stmined the judgment of life and limb for prison breaking, to cases where the 
offence of the prisoner required such judgment. 

It is not only vain, but wicked, in a legislator to frame laws in opposition to 
the laws of nature, and to arm them with the terrors of death. This is truly 
creating crimes in order to punish them. The law of nature impels every one 
to escape from confinement ; it should not, therefore, be subjected to punish- 
ment. Let the legislator restrain his criminal by walls, not by parchment. As 
to strangers breaking prison to enlarge an offender, they should, and may be 
fairly considered as accessaries after the fact. This bill says nothing of the 
prisoner releasing himself by breach of jail, he will have the benefit of the first 
section of the bill, which repeals the judgment of life and death at the common 

law.— r. J. 

' Gif wiccan owwe wigleras nansworan, owwe morthwyrhtan owwe fule 
afylede sebere horcwenan ahwhar on lande wurthan agytene, thonne fyrsie man 
of earde and clsensie tha theode, owwe on earde forfare hi mid ealle, buton hi 
geswican and the deoper gebetan : if witches, or weirds, man-swearers, mur- 
ther-wroughters, or foul, defiled, open whore-queens, anywhere in the land were 
gotten, then force them off earth, and cleanse the nation, or in earth forth-fare 
them withal, buton they beseech, and deeply better, LI. Ed. et Guthr. c. 11. 
" Sagse, mulieres barbara, factitantes sacrificia, aut pestiferi, si cui mortem 
intulerint, neque id inficiari poterint, capitis poena esto." LI. ^Ethelst. c. 6. 
apud Lambard. LI. Aelfr. 30. LI. Cnuti. c. 4. " Mesme eel jugement 
(d'etrears) eyent sorcers, et sorceresses, &c. ut supra. Fleta ut et ubi supra. 
3. Inst. 44. Trial of witches before Hale in 1664. The statutes 33 H. 8. c. 8. 
5 El. c. 16 and i Jac. i. c. 12. seem to be only in confirmation of the Common 
law. 9 G. 2. c. 25. punishes them with pillory, and a year's imprisonment. 
3 E. 6. c. 15. 5 El. c. 15. punish fond, fantastical and false prophecies, by fine 
and imprisonment. — T. J. 

' I Ann. c. 9. %i.— T. J. 

^ As every treason includes within it a misprision of treason, so every felony 
includes a misprision, or misdemeanor, i Hale P. C. 652. 708. " Licet fuerit 


Sect. XXXI. If any offender stand mute of obstinacy,' or chal- 
lenge peremptorily more of the jurors than by law he may, being 
first warned of the consequence thereof, the court shall proceed 
as if he had confessed the charge.'' 

Sect. XXXII. Pardon and privilege of clergy, shall henceforth 
be abolished, that none may be induced to injure through hope 
of impunity. But if the verdict be against the defendant, and 
the court, before whom the offence is heard and determined, shall 
doubt that it may be untrue for default of testimony, or other 
cause, they may direct a new trial to be had." 

felonia, tamen in eo continetur misprisio." 2 R. 3. 10. Both principal and 
accessary, therefore, may be proceeded against in any case, either for felony or 
misprision, at the Common law. Capital cases not being mentioned here, acces- 
saries to them will of course be triable for misprisions, if the offender flies. — 

T. y. 
' E. I.e. \2.—T. y. 

^ Whether the judgment of penance lay at Common law. See 2 Inst. 178. 
2 H. P. C. 321. 4 Bl. 322. It was given on standing mute ; but on chal- 
lenging more than the legal number, whether that sentence, or sentence of 
death is to be given, seems doubtful. 2 H. P. C. 316. Quaere, whether it 
would not be better to consider the supernumerary challenge as merely void, 
and to proceed in the trial ? Quaere too, in case of silence? — T. y. 

' " Cum Clericus sic de crimine convictus degradetur non sequitur alia poena 
pro uno delicto, vel pluribus ante degradationem perpetratis. Satis enim suf- 
ficit ei pro poena degradatio, quse est magna capitis diminutio, nisi forte con- 
victus fuerit de apostatia, quia hinc primo degradetur, et postea per manum 
laicalem comburetur, secundum quod accidit in concilio Oxoni celebrate a bonse 
memoriae S. Cantuanen. Archiepiscopo de quodam diacono, qui se apostatavit 
pro quadam Judaae ; qui cum esset per episcopum degradatus, statim fuit igni 
traditus per manum laicalem." Bract. L. 3. c. 9. § 2. " Et mesme eel juge- 
ment (i. e. qui ils soient ars eyent) sorcers et sorceresses, et sodomites et mes- 
creauntz apertement atteyntz." Britt. c. 9. " Christiani autem Apostatse, sor- 
tilegii, et hujusmodi detractari debent et comburi." Fleta, L. i. c. 37. § 2 see 
3. Inst. 39. 12. Rep. 92. I H. P. C. 393. The extent of the clerical privilege 
at the Common law. i. As to the crimes, seems very obscure and uncertain. 
It extended to no case where the judgment was not of life, or limb. Note in 
2. H. P. C. 326. This therefore excluded it in trespass, petty larceny, or kill- 
ing se defendendo. In high treason against the person of the King, it seems 
not to have been allowed. Note i. H. P. C. 185. Treasons, therefore, not 
against the King's person immediately, petty treasons and felonies, seem to 
have been the cases where it was allowed ; and even of those, not for insidiatio 
varium, depopulatio agrorum, or combustio domorum. The statute de Clero, 

2 20 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

Sect. XXXIII. No attainder shall work corruption of blood 
in any case. 

Sect. XXXIV. In all cases of forfeiture, the widow's dower 
shall be saved to her, during her title thereto ; after which it 
shall be disposed of as if no such saving had been. 

Sect. XXXV. The aid of Counsel,' and examination of their 
witnesses on oath, shall be allowed to defendants in criminal 

Sect. XXXVI. Slaves guilty of any offence^ punishable in 
others by labour in the public works, shall be transported to such 
parts in the West-Indies, South-America, or Africa, as the Gov- 
ernor shall direct, there to be continued in slavery. 


(chapter lxxix.) 

Section I. Whereas it appeareth that however certain forms of 
government are better calculated than others to protect individ- 
uals in the free exercise of their natural rights, and are at the 

25 E. 3. St. 3. c. 4. settled the law on this head. 2. As to the persons, it ex- 
tended to all clerks, always, and toties quoties. 2 H. P. C. 374. To nuns 
also. Fitz. Abr. Corone. 461. 22. E. 3. The clerical habit and tonsure were 
considered as evidence of the person being clerical. 26. Assiz. ig. 20. E. 2. 
Fitz. Corone. 233. By the q E. 4. 28. b. 34. H. 6. 49 a. b. a simple reading 
became the evidence. This extended impunity to a great number of laymen, 
and toties quoties. The stat. 4 H. 7. c. 13. directed that real clerks should, 
upon a second arraignment, produce their orders, and all others to be burnt in 
the hand with M. or T. on the first allowance of clergy, and not to be admitted 
to it a second time. A heretic, Jew, or Turk (as being incapable of orders) 
could not have clergy, ii. Co. Rep. 29 b. But a Greek, or other alien, read- 
ing in a book of his own country, might. Bro. Clergie. 20. So a blind man, 
if he could speak Latin. lb. 21. qu. 11. Rep. 29. b. The orders entitling the 
party, were bishops, priests, deacons and subdeacons, the inferior being reck- 
oned Clerici in minoribus. 2. H. P. C. 373. Quaere, however, if this distinc- 
tion is not founded on the stat. 23 H. 8. c. i. 25 H. 8. c. 32. By merely 
dropping all the statutes, it should seem that none but clerks would be entitled 
to this privilege, and that they would, toties quoties. — T. y. 

' I Ann. c. 9. — T. J. 

' Manslaughter, counterfeiting, arson, asportation of vessels, robbery, 
burglary, house-breaking, horse-stealing, larceny. — T. y. 


same time themselves better guarded against degeneracy, yet 
experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those 
entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, per- 
verted it into tyranny ; and it is believed that the most effectual 
means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practi- 
cable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to 
give them knowledge of those facts, which history exhibiteth, 
that, possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and coun- 
tries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, 
and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes ; 
And whereas it is generally true that that people will be happiest 
whose laws are best, and are best administered, and that laws will 
be wisely formed, and honestly administered, in proportion as 
those who form and administer them are wise and honest ; whence 
it becomes expedient for promoting the publick happiness that 
those persons, whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue, 
should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and 
able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of 
their fellow citizens, and that they should be called to that charge 
without regard to wealth, birth or other accidental condition or 
circumstance ; but the indigence of the greater number disabling 
them from so educating, at their own expence, those of their 
children whom nature hath fitly formed and disposed to become 
useful instruments for the public, it is better that such should be 
sought for and educated at the common expence of all, than that 
the happiness of all should be confined to the weak or wicked : 

Sect. II. Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, that 
in every county within this commonwealth, there shall be chosen 
annually, by the electors qualified to vote for Delegates, three of 
the most honest and able men of their county, to be called the 
Aldermen of the county ; and that the election of the said Alder- 
men shall be held at the same time and place, before the same 
persons, and notified and conducted in the same manner as by 
law is directed, for the annual election of Delegates for the county. 

Sect. III. The person before whom such election is holden 
shall certify to the court of the said county the names of the 
Aldermen chosen, in order that the same may be entered of 
record, and shall give notice of their election to the said Alder- 
men within a fortnight after such election. 

222 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

Sect. IV. The said Aldermen on the first Monday in October, 
if it be fair, and if not, then on the next fair day, excluding Sun- 
day, shall meet at the court-house of their county, and proceed 
to divide their said county into hundreds, bounding the same by 
watercourses, mountains, or limits, to be run and marked, if they 
think necessary, by the county surveyor, and at the county ex- 
pence, regulating the size of the said hundreds, according to the 
best of their discretion, so as that they may contain a convenient 
number of children to make up a school, and be of such con- 
venient size that all the children within each hundred may daily 
attend the school to be established therein, and distinguishing 
each hundred by a particular name ; which division, with the 
names of the several hundreds, shall be returned to the court of 
the county and be entered of record, and shall remain unaltered 
until the increase or decrease of inhabitants shall render an alter- 
ation necessary, in the opinion of any succeeding Alderman, and 
also in the opinion of the court of the county. 

Sect. V. The electors aforesaid residing within every hundred 
shall meet on the third Monday in October after the first election 
of Aldermen, at such place, within their hundred, as the said 
Aldermen shall direct, notice thereof being previously given to 
them by such person residing within the hundred as the said Al- 
dermen shall require who is hereby enjoined to obey such requi- 
sition, on pain of being punished by amercement and imprisonment. 
The electors being so assembled shall choose the most convenient 
place within their hundred for building a school-house. If two 
or more places, having a greater number of votes than any others, 
shall yet be equal between themselves, the Aldermen, or such of 
them as are not of the same hundred, on information thereof, 
shall decide between them. The said Aldermen shall forthwith 
proceed to have a school-house built at the said place, and shall 
see that the same shall be kept in repair, and, when necessary, 
that it be rebuilt ; but whenever they shall think necessary that 
it be rebuilt, they shall give notice as before directed, to the elec- 
tors of the hundred to met at the said school-house, on such a 
day as they shall appoint, to determine by vote, in the manner 
before directed, whether it shall be rebuilt at the same, or what 
other place in the hundred. 


Sect. VI. At every of those schools shall be taught reading, 
writing, and common arithmetick, and the books which shall be 
used therein for instructing the children to read shall be such as 
will at the same time make them acquainted with Grsecian, Roman, 
English, and American history. At these schools all the free 
children, male and female, resident within the respective hundred, 
shall be intitled to receive tuition gratis, for the term of three 
years, and as much longer, at their private expence, as their 
parents, guardians, or friends shall think proper. 

Sect. VII. Over every ten of these schools (or such other num- 
ber nearest thereto, as the number of hundreds in the county will 
admit, without fractional divisions) an overseer shall be appointed 
annually by the aldermen at their first meeting, eminent for his 
learning, integrity, and fidelity to the commonwealth, whose busi- 
ness and duty it shall be, from time to time, to appoint a teacher 
to each school, who shall give assurance of fidelity to the com- 
monwealth, and to remove him as he shall see cause; to visit 
every school once in every half year at the least ; to examine the 
scholars ; see that any general plan of reading and instruction 
recommended by the visiters of William and Mary College shall 
be observed ; and to superintend the conduct of the teacher in 
everything relative to his school. 

Sect. VIII. Every teacher shall receive a salary of by 

the year, which, with the expences of building and repairing the 
school-houses, shall be provided in such manner as other county 
expences are by law directed to be provided and shall also have 
his diet, lodging, and washing found him, to be levied in like man- 
ner, save only that such levy shall be on the inhabitants of each 
hundred for the board of their own teacher only. 

Sect. IX. And in order that grammer schools may be rendered 
convenient to the youth in every part of the commonwealth, be it 
therefore enacted, that on the first Monday in November, after 
the first appointment of overseers for the hundred schools, if fair, 
and if not, then on the next fair day, excluding Sunday, after the 
hour of one in the afternoon, the said overseer appointed for the 
schools in the counties of Princess Ann, Norfolk, Nansemond and 
Isle-of-Wight, shall meet at Nansemond court-house ; those for 
the counties of Southampton, Sussex, Surry and Prince George, 



shall meet at Sussex court-house ; those for the counties of Bruns- 
wick, Mecklenburg and Lunenburg, shall meet at Lunenburg 
court-house ; those for the counties of Dinwiddie, Amelia and 
Chesterfield, shall meet at Chesterfield court-house ; those for the 
counties of Powhatan, Cumberland, Goochland, Henrico and Han- 
over, shall meet at Henrico court-house ; those for the counties of 
Prince Edward, Charlotte and Halifax, shall meet at Charlotte 
court-house ; those for the counties of Henry, Pittsylvania and 
Bedford, shall meet at Pittsylvania court-house ; those for the 
counties of Buckingham, Amherst, Albemarle and Fluvanna, shall 
meet at Albemarle court-house ; those for the counties of Bote- 
tourt, Rockbridge, Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky, shall 
meet at Botetourt court-house ; those for the counties of Augusta, 
Rockingham and Greenbriar, shall meet at Augusta court-house ; 
those for the counties of Accomack and Northampton, shall meet 
at Accomack court-house ; those for the counties of Elizabeth City, 
Warwick, York, Gloucester, James City, Charles City and New- 
Kent, shall meet at James City court-house ; those for the counties 
of Middlesex, Essex, King and Queen, King William and Caroline, 
shall meet at King and Queen court-house ; those for the counties 
of Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland, 
shall meet at Richmond court-house ; those for the counties of 
King George, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Prince William and Fairfax, 
shall meet at Spotsylvania court-house ; those for the counties of 
Loudoun and Fauquier, shall meet at Loudoun court-house ; those 
for the counties of Culpeper, Orange and Louisa, shall meet at 
Orange court-house ; those for the county of Shenandoah and 
Frederick, shall meet at Frederick court-house ; those for the 
counties of Hampshire and Berkeley, shall meet at Berkeley court- 
house ; and those for the counties of Yohogania, Monongalia, and 
Ohio, shall meet at the Monongalia court-house ; and shall fix on 
such place in some one of the counties in their district as shall be 
most proper for situating a grammer school-house, endeavoring 
that the situation be as central as may be to the inhabitants of 
the said counties, that it be furnished with good water, convenient 
to plentiful supplies of provision and fuel, and more than all 
things that it be healthy. And if a majority of the overseers 
present should not concur in their choice of any one place pro- 


posed, the method of determining shall be as follows : If two 
places only were proposed, and the votes be divided, they shall 
decide between them by fair and equal lot ; if more than two 
places were proposed, the question shall be put on those two 
which on the first division had the greater number of votes ; or if 
no two places had a greater number of votes than the others, then 
it shall be decided by fair and equal lot (unless it can be agreed 
by a majority of votes) which of the places having equal numbers 
shall be thrown out of the competition, so that the question shall 
be put on the remaining two, and if on this ultimate question 
the votes shall be equally divided, it shall then be decided finally 
by lot. 

Sect. X. The said overseers having determined the place at 
which the grammer school for their district shall be built, shall 
forthwith (unless they can otherwise agree with the proprietors 
of the circumjacent lands as to location and price) make applica- 
tion to the clerk of the county in which the said house is to be 
situated, who shall thereupon issue a writ, in the nature of a writ 
of ad quod damnum, directed to the sheriff of the said county 
commanding him to summon and impannel twelve fit persons to 
meet at the place, so destined for the grammer school-house, on 
a certain day, to be named in the said writ, not less than five, nor 
more than ten, days from the date thereof ; and also to give 
notice of the same to the proprietors and tenants of the lands to 
be viewed if they be found within the county, and if not, then to 
their agents therein if any they have. Which freeholders shall 
be charged by the said sheriff impartially, and to the best of their 
skill and judgment to view the lands round about the said place, 
and to locale and circumscribe, by certain meets and bounds, one 
hundred acres thereof, having regard therein principally to the 
benefit and convenience of the said school, but respecting in 
some measure also the convenience of the said proprietors, and to 
value and appraise the same in so many several and distinct parcels 
as shall be owned or held by several and distinct owners or 
tenants, and according to their respective interests and estates 
therein. And after such location and appraisement so made, 
the said sheriff shall forthwith return the same under the 
hands and seals of the said jurors, together with the writ, to 


226 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

the clerk's office of the said county and the right and property 
of the said proprietors and tenants in the said lands so cir- 
cumscribed shall be immediately devested and be transferred 
to the commonwealth for the use of the said grammer school, in 
full and absolute dominion, any want of consent or disability to 
consent in the said owners or tenants notwithstanding. But it 
shall not be lawful for the said overseers so to situate the gram- 
mer school-house, nor to the said jurors so to locate the said 
lands, as to include the mansion-house of the proprietor of the 
lands, nor the offices, curtilage, or garden, thereunto immediately 

Sect. XI. The said overseers shall forthwith proceed to have a 
house of brick or stone, for the said grammer school, with neces- 
sary offices, built on the said lands, which grammer school-house 
shall contain a room for the school, a hall to dine in, four rooms 
for a master and usher, and ten or twelve lodging rooms for the 

Sect. XII. To each of the said grammer schools shall be 
allowed out of the public treasury, the sum of 
pounds, out of which shall be paid by the Treasurer, on warrant 
from the Auditors, to the proprietors or tenants of the lands 
located, the value of their several interests as fixed by the jury, 
and the balance thereof shall be delivered to the said overseers 
to defray the expense of the said buildings. 

Sect. XIII. In either of these grammer schools shall be taught 
the Latin and Greek languages, English Grammer, geography, 
and the higher part of numerical arithmetick, to wit, vulgar and 
decimal fractions, and the extrication of the square and cube 

Sect. XIV. A visiter from each county constituting the district 
shall be appointed, by the overseers, for the county, in the month 
of October annually, either from their own body or from their 
county at large, which visiters, or the greater part of them, meet- 
ing together at the said grammer school on the first Monday in 
November, if fair, and if not, then on the next fair day, excluding 
Sunday, shall have power to choose their own Rector, who shall 
call and preside at future meetings, to employ from time to time 
a master, and if necessary, an usher, for the said school, to remove 


them at their will, and to settle the price of tuition to be paid by 
the scholars. They shall also visit the school twice in every year 
at the least, either together or separately at their discretion, 
examine the scholars, and see that any general plan of instruction 
recommended by the visiters, of William and Mary College shall 
be observed. The said masters and ushers, before they enter on 
the execution of their office, shall give assurance of fidelity to 
the commonwealth. 

Sect. XV. A steward shall be employed, and removed at will 
by the master, on such wages as the visiters shall direct ; which 
steward shall see to the procuring provisions, fuel, servants for 
cooking, waiting, house cleaning, washing, mending, and garden- 
ing on the most reasonable terms ; the expence of which, together 
with the steward's wages, shall be divided equally among all the 
scholars boarding either on the public or private expence. And 
the part of those who are on private expence, and also the price 
of their tuitions due to the master or usher, shall be paid quarterly 
by the respective scholars, their parents, or guardians, and shall 
be recoverable, if withheld, together with costs, on motion in any 
Court of Record, ten days notice thereof being previously given 
to the party, and a jury impannelled to try the issue joined, or 
enquire of the damages. The said steward shall also, under the 
direction of the visiters, see that the houses be kept in repair, and 
necessary enclosures be made and repaired, the accounts for 
which, shall, from time to time, be submitted to the Auditors, 
and on their warrant paid by the Treasurer. 

Sect. XVI. Every overseer of the hundred schools shall, in the 
month of September annually, after the most diligent and im- 
partial examination and inquiry, appoint from among the boys 
who shall have been two years at the least at some one of the 
schools under his superintendance, and whose parents are too 
poor to give them farther education, some one of the best and 
most promising genius and disposition, to proceed to the grammer 
school of his district ; which appointment .shall be made in the 
court-house of the county, and on the court day for that month 
if fair, and if not, then on the next fair day, excluding Sunday, in 
the presence of the Aldermen, or two of them at the least, assem- 
bled on the bench for that purpose, the said overseer being 



previously sworn by them to make such appointment, without 
favor or affection, according to the best of his skill and judgment, 
and being interrogated by the said Aldermen, either on their own 
motion, or on suggestions from the parents, guardians, friends, or 
teachers of the children, competitors for such appointment ; 
which teachers the parents shall attend for the information of the 
Aldermen. On which interrogatories the said Aldermen, if they 
be not satisfied with the appointment proposed, shall have right 
to negative it ; whereupon the said visiter may proceed to make 
a new appointment, and the said Aldermen again to interrogate 
and negative, and so toties quoties until an appointment be ap- 

Sect. XVII. Every boy so appointed shall be authorized to 
proceed to the grammer school of his district, there to be edu- 
cated and boarded during such time as is hereafter limited ; and 
his quota of the expences of the house together with a compen- 
sation to the master or usher for his tuition, at the rate of twenty 
dollars by the year, shall be paid by the Treasurer quarterly on 
warrant from the Auditors. 

Sect. XVIII. A visitation shall be held, for the purpose of 
probation, annually at the said grammer school on the last Mon- 
day in September, if fair, and if not, then on the next fair day, 
excluding Sunday, at which one third of the boys sent thither by 
appointment of the said overseers, and who shall have been there 
one year only, shall be discontinued as public foundationers, 
being those who, on the most diligent examination and enquiry, 
shall be thought to be the least promising genius and disposition ; 
and of those who shall have been there two years, all shall be 
discontinued save one only the best in genius and disposition, 
who shall be at liberty to continue there four years longer on 
the public foundation, and shall thence forward be deemed a 

Sect, XIX. The visiters for the districts which, or any part of 
which, be southward and westward of James river, as known by 
that name, or by the names of Fluvanna and Jackson's river, in 
every other year, to wit, at the probation meetings held in the 
years, distinguished in the Christian computation by odd num- 
bers, and the visiters for all the other districts at their said 


meetings to be held in those years, distinguished by even num- 
bers, after diligent examination and enquiry as before directed, 
shall chuse one among the said seniors, of the best learning and 
most hopeful genius and disposition, who shall be authorized by 
them to proceed to William and Mary College ; there to be edu- 
cated, boarded, and clothed, three years ; the expence of which 
annually shall be paid by the Treasurer on warrant from the 


(chapter lxxx.) 

Section I. Whereas a scheme for cultivating and disseminat- 
ing useful knowledge in this country, which had been proposed 
by some of its liberal minded inhabitants, before the year 1690 of 
the Christian epocha, was approved, adopted, and cherished, by 
the General Assembly, upon whose petition King William and 
Queen Mary of England, to the crown whereof the people here 
at that time acknowledged themselves, as a colony, to be subject, 
by their charter bearing date the seventh day of February, in the 
fourth year of their reign, gave license, in due form, to Francis 
Nicholson, Esquire, Lieutenant Governor of the colony, and 
seventeen other trustees, particularly named, to found a place of 
universal study, or perpetual college, in such part of the country 
as the General Assembly should think fit, consisting of a Presi- 
dent, six Professors, and an hundred scholars, more or less ; en- 
abled the trustees, and their survivors, to take and hold lands, 
tenements, and hereditaments, to the yearly value of two thousand 
pounds, with intention, and in confidence, that, after application 
of the profits thereof, with such donations as by themselves and 
others might be made for that purpose, to the erecting, founding, 
and adorning the college, they should transfer the same to the 
President and Professors ; appointed James Blair, clerk, the first 
President, and empowered the trustees, and their successors, to 
elect the succeeding President, and the Professors ; willed the 
college after it should be founded, to be called the College of 



William and Mary in Virginia ; and incorporated the President 
and masters, enabling them and their successors to take and hold 
lands, tenements, hereditaments, goods and chattels, to the yearly 
value of two thousand pounds, of lawful money of England ; ap- 
pointed the trustees and their successors, to be elected in the 
manner therein prescribed, so as not to be less than eighteen, 
visiters of the College, with })ower to nominate one of them- 
selves a rector annually and to ordain statutes for the govern- 
ment of the College, not contrary to the royal prerogative, the 
laws of England or Virginia, or the canons of the Church of 
England ; willed that the President and Professors should have 
a Chancellor, to be nominated, every seventh year, in the manner 
therein prescribed ; granted to the trustees a sum of money, 
then in the hands of William Byrd, Esquire, the Auditor, re- 
ceived for quitrents, to be applied towards erecting, founding 
and adorning the College ; and also granted to the trustees, to be 
transferred to the President and Professors, in like manner as 
before directed, part of the then royal revenue, arising from the 
duty on tobacco exported ; and also granted to the said trustees 
the ofifice of surveyor general of Virginia, with intention, and in 
confidence, that they and their successors, or the longest livers of 
them, should receive the profits thereof, until the foundation of 
the College, and when that should be affected, account for and 
pay the same or the surplus above what should have been ex- 
pended in that work, to the President and Professors ; and that 
thereafter the said office should be held by the said President 
and Professors. And the said King and Queen, by their said 
charter, granted to the said trustees ten thousand acres of land, 
on the south side of the Blackwater swamp, and also other ten 
thousand acres of land in Pamunkey neck, between the forks or 
branches of the York river, with this intention, and in confidence, 
that the said trustees, or the longest livers of them, should trans- 
fer the said twenty thousand acres of land, after the foundation 
of the College, to the President and Professors ; as by the said 
charter, among other things, relation being thereupon had, may 
more fully appear. And whereas voluntary contributions towards 
forwarding this beneficial scheme, the sum whereof exceeded 
two thousand pounds, sterling, was received by the said trustees. 


with one thousand pounds, sterling, out of the money arising 
from the quitrents granted to the use of said College by Queen 
Anne, part whereof was applied to the purchase of three hundred 
and thirty acres of land at the middle plantation, being the same 
place where the General Assembly, by their act, passed in the 
year 1693, had directed the said College to be built, and whereon 
the same was accordingly built, and the General Assembly, by 
one other act, passed in the same year 1693, intitled an Act for 
laying an imposition upon skins and furs, for the better support 
of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, endowed the 
said College with certain duties on skins and furs therein speci- 
fied, which duties were afterwards enlarged and confirmed to the 
use of the said College, and made payable to the President and 
Professors by divers other acts of General Assembly. And by 
one other act passed in the year 1718, the said College was further 
endowed by the General Assembly with the sum of one thousand 
pounds, out of the public funds, in the hands of the Treasurer, 
which was directed to be laid out for the maintaining and educat- 
ing scholars, and to be accounted for to the General Assembly, 
from time to time, when required : Which sum was accordingly 
paid to the said visiters and by them invested in the purchase of 
two thousand one hundred and nineteen acres of land, on both 
sides of the Nottoway river, in the counties of Prince George, 
Surrey, and Brunswick, and seventeen negro slaves, to be em- 
ployed in tilling and manuring the same, and certain scholarships 
were accordingly established on the said funds ; and the General 
Assembly, by their act, passed in the year 1726, and entitled an 
Act for laying a duty on liquors, further endowed the said College 
with an annual revenue of two hundred pounds, for twenty-one 
years, to be paid out of certain duties thereon imposed on liquors, 
and by one other act, passed in the year 1734, endowed it with the 
whole of the said duties, during the residue of the said term then 
unexpired, a part or the whole thereof to be expended in purchas- 
ing a library for the said College : And by divers other acts, 
passed at subsequent times, the Assemblies, for the time being, 
having continued to the said College the whole of the annual 
revenues, arising from the said duties, until the first of June, 
which shall be in the year 1780, to be applied to the funding 

232 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

scholarships, and other good uses, for the support of the said 
College, and to be accounted for to the General Assembly ; and 
the General Assembly by of in the year 

gave a further donation to the said College of to 

be laid out in purchasing a mathematical apparatus for the said 
College, which was accordingly purchased. And the said trustees, 
in pursuance of the trust reposed in them, proceeded to erect the 
said College, and established one school of sacred theology, with 
two professorships therein, to wit, one for teaching the Hebrew 
tongue, and expounding the holy scriptures ; and the other for 
explaining the common places of divinity, and controversies with 
heretics ; one other school for philosophy, with two professor- 
ships therein, to wit, one for the study of rhetoric, logic, and 
ethics, and the other of physics, metaphysics, and mathematics ; 
one other school for teaching the Latin and Greek tongues ; and 
one other for teaching Indian boys reading, writing, vulgar 
arithmetic, the catechism and the principles of the Christian 
religion ; which last school was founded on the private donation 
of the honorable Robert Boyle, of the kingdom of England, and, 
by authority from his executors, submitted to the direction of the 
Earl of Burlington, one of the said executors, of the bishop of 
London, for the time being, and in default thereof, to the said 
trustees, and over the whole they appointed one president as 

Sect. IL And whereas the experience of near an hundred 
years hath proved, that the said College, thus amply endowed by 
the public, hath not answered their expectations, and there is 
reason to hope, that it would become more useful, if certain 
articles in its constitution were altered and amended, which 
being fixed, as before recited, by the original charters, cannot be 
reformed by the said trustees whose powers are created and 
circumscribed by the said charters, and the said College being 
erected and constituted on the requisition of the General 
Assembly, by the Chief Magistrate of the state, their legal fidu- 
ciary for such purposes, being founded and endowed with the 
lands and revenues of the public, and intended for the sole use 
and improvement, and no wise in nature of a private grant, the 
same is of right subject to the public direction, and may by them 


be altered and amended, until such form be devised as will render 
the institution publicly advantageous, in proportion as it is pub- 
licly expensive ; and the late change in the form of our govern- 
ment, as well as the contest of arms in which we are at present 
engaged, calling for extraordinary abilities both in council and 
field, it becomes the peculiar duty of the Legislature, at this time, 
to aid and improve that seminary, in which those who are to be 
the future guardians of the rights and liberties of their country 
may be endowed with science and virtue, to watch and preserve 
the sacred deposit ; Be it therefore enacted by the General 
Assembly, that, instead of eighteen visiters or governors of the 
said College, there shall in future be five only, who shall be 
appointed by joint ballot of both houses of Assembly, annually, 
to enter on the duties of their office on the new year's day 
ensuing their appointment, having previously given assurance of 
fidelity to the commonwealth, before any Justice of the Peace ; 
and to continue in office until those next appointed shall be quali- 
fied, but those who shall be first appointed, after the passing of 
this act, and all others appointed during the course of any year 
to fill up vacancies happening by death, resignation, or removal 
out of the commonwealth, shall enter on duty immediately on such 
appointment ; any four of the said visiters may proceed to business ; 
they shall chuse their own Rector, at their first meeting, in every 
year, and shall be deemed the lawful successors of the first trus- 
tees, and invested with all the rights, powers, and capacities given 
to them, save only so far as the same shall be abridged by this 
act, nor shall they be restrained in their legislation, by the royal 
prerogative, or the laws of the kingdom of England ; of the 
canons or the constitution of the English Church, as enjoined in 
the said charter. There shall be three Chancellors, in like man- 
ner appointed by joint ballot of both houses, from among the 
Judges of the High Court of Chancery, or of the General Court, 
to enter on that office immediately on such appointment, and to 
continue therein so long as they remain in either of the said 
courts ; any two of whom may proceed to business ; to them 
shall belong solely the power of removing the Professors, for 
breach or neglect of duty, immorality, severity, contumacy, or 
other good cause, and the judiciary powers in all disputes, which 



shall arise on the statutes of the College, being called on for that 
purpose by the Rector, or by the corporation of President and 
Professors, a copy of their sentence of deprivation, being deliv- 
ered to the sheriff of the county wherein the College is, he shall 
forthwith cause the Professor deprived to be ousted of his cham- 
bers, and other freehold appertaining to the said College, and the 
remaining Professors to be reseized thereof, in like manner and 
form, and subject, on failure to the like fines by the said Chancel- 
lors, as in cases of writs of habere facias seisinam issued from 
Courts of Record. But no person shall be capable of being both 
visiter and Chancellor at the same time ; nor shall any Professor 
be capable of being at the same time either visiter or Chancellor. 
Instead of the President and six Professors, licensed by the said 
charter, and established by the former visiters, there shall be eight 
Professors, one of whom, shall also be appointed President, with 
an additional salary of one hundred pounds a year, before they 
enter on the execution of their office, they shall give assurance of 
fidelity to the commonwealth, before some justice of the Peace. 
These shall be deemed the lawful successors of the President and 
Professors appointed under the said charter, and shall have all 
their rights, powers and capabilities, not otherwise disposed of by 
this act ; to them shall belong the ordinary government of the 
College, and administration of its revenues, taking the advice of 
the visiters on all matters of great concern. There shall, in like 
manner, be eight Professorships, to wit, one of moral philosophy, 
and the laws of nature and of nations, and of the fine arts ; one 
of law and police ; one of history, civil and ecclesiastical ; one of 
mathematics ; one of anatomy and medicine ; one of natural 
philosophy and natural history ; one of the ancient languages, 
oriental and northern ; and one of modern languages. The said 
Professors shall likewise appoint, from time to time, a missionary, 
of approved veracity, to the several tribes of Indians, whose busi- 
ness shall be to investigate their laws, customs, religions, tradi- 
tions, and more particularly their languages, constructing gram- 
mars thereof, as well as may be, and copious vocabularies, and, 
on oath to communicate, from time to time, to the said President 
and Professors the materials he collects, to be by them laid up 
and preserved in their library ; for which trouble the said mis- 

1779] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 2 3 5 

sionary shall be allowed a salary at the discretion of the visiters, 
out of the revenues of the College. And forasmuch as the 
revenue, arising from the duties on skins and furs, and those on 
liquors, with which the said College was endowed, by several acts 
of General Assembly, is subject to great fluctuations, from cir- 
cumstances unforseen, insomuch that no calculation of foresight 
can enable the said visiters or Professors to square thereto the 
expenditures of the said College, which being regular and perma- 
nent should depend on stable funds ; Be it therefore enacted, 
that the revenue arising from the said duties, shall be henceforth 
transferred to the use of the public, to be applied towards sup- 
porting the contingent charges of government, and that, in lieu 
thereof, the said College shall be endowed with an impost of five 
pounds of tobacco, on every hogshead of tobacco, to be exported 
from this commonwealth, by land or by water, to be paid to the 
inspectors accounted for, on oath, to the said President and Pro- 
fessors on or before the loth day of October, in every year, with 
an allowance of six per centum for their trouble ; and if the said 
tobacco be not carried to any public ware-house, then the said 
impost shall be paid, collected and accounted for to the said 
President and Professors, by the same persons, at the same times, 
in and under the like manner, penalties and conditions, as pre- 
scribed by the laws, which shall be in force at the time, for col- 
lecting the duties imposed on exported tobacco, towards raising 
supplies of money for the public exigencies. And that this 
commonwealth may not be without so great an ornament, nor its 
youth such an help towards attaining astronomical science, as the 
mechanical representation, or model of the solar system, con- 
ceived and executed by that greatest of astronomers, David 
Ryttenhouse ; Be it further enacted, that the visiters, first ap- 
pointed under this act, and their successors, shall be authorized 
to engage the said David Ryttenhouse, on the part of this com- 
monwealth, to make and erect in the said College of William and 
Mary, and for its use, one of the said models, to be called by the 
name of the Ryttenhouse, the cost and expence of making, trans- 
porting and erecting whereof shall, according to the agreement 
or allowance of the said visiters, be paid by the Treasurer of this 
commonwealth, on warrant from the Auditors. 

236 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

(chapter lxxxi.) 

Section I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that on the 
first day of January, in every year, there shall be paid out of the 
treasury the sum of two thousand pounds, to be laid out in such 
books and maps as may be proper to be preserved in a public 
library, and in defraying the expences necessary for the care and 
preservation thereof ; which library shall be established at the 
town of Richmond. 

Sect. II. The two houses of Assembly shall appoint three 
persons of learning and attention to literary matters, to be visiters 
of the said library, and shall remove them, and fill any vacancies, 
from time to time, as they shall think fit ; which visiters shall 
have power to receive the annual sums beforementioned, and 
therewith to procure such books and maps as aforesaid, and shall 
superintend the preservation thereof. Whensoever a keeper shall 
be found necessary they shall appoint such keeper, from time to 
time, at their will, on such annual salary (not exceeding one 
hundred pounds) as they shall think reasonable. 

Sect. III. If during the time of war the importation of books 
and maps shall be hazardous, or if the rate of exchange between 
this commonwealth and any state from which such articles are 
wanted, shall from any cause be such that they cannot be im- 
ported to such advantage as may be hoped at a future day, the 
visiters shall place the annual sums, as they become due, in the 
public loan office, if any there be, for the benefit of interest, or 
otherwise shall suffer them to remain in the treasury until fit 
occasions shall occur of employing them. 

Sect. IV. It shall not be lawful for the said keeper, or the 
visiters themselves, or any other person to remove any book or 
map out of the said library, unless it be for the necessary repair 
thereof ; but the same be made useful by indulging the researches 
of the learned and curious, within the said library, without fee or 
reward, and under such rules for preserving them safe and in 
good order and condition as the visiters shall constitute. 


Sect. V. The visiters shall annually settle their accounts with 
the Auditors and leave with them the vouchers for the expendi- 
ture of the monies put into their hands. 

(chapter lxxxil) 

Section I. Well aware that the opinions and belief of men 
depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evi- 
dence proposed to their minds ; that Almighty God hath created 
the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall 

' This bill was Jefferson's particular pride, and ranked in his mind with the 
Declaration of Independence. It was originally introduced to the Assembly 
June 13, 1779, and was promptly the subject of memorials, both pro and co7i, 
to that body. Evidently the majority of the members agreed with one of these 
memorials, which styled it a " diabolical scheme," for it was laid over from 
session to session till 1786, when, by the foolish attempt of the " state-church" 
party to obtain a general assessment, the Assembly re-acted, and passed this 
bill into law, after first partially substituting a clause of the Virginia Declara- 
tion of Rights in place of Jefferson's original wording. Jefferson, then in Paris, 
promptly had an edition printed with the title : 

An Act for establishing Religious Freedom, | passed by the assembly of 
Virginia in the beginning | of the year 1786. [Paris: 1786.] 8vo, pp.4- 

In the same year it was again printed in Paris as : 

Acte de la Republiquede Virginie, | qui etablit laliberte de Religion. [Paris : 
Ph. D. Pierres, 1786.] 8vo, pp.4. 

It was again printed as : 

Republican Notes on Religion ; And An Act Establishing Religious Free- 
dom, passed in the Assembly of Virginia, in the year 1786. By Thomas 
Jefferson, Esquire, President of the United States. Danbury : Printed by 
Thomas Row. 1803. 8vo, pp. 11. 

The Act was criticised by Pelatiah Webster in : 

Considerations | on an | Act | of the | Legislature | of | Virginia, | entitled, 
I an act for the establishment of | Religious Freedom. | By a Citizen of 
Philadelphia. | Philadelphia : | Printed and sold by Robert Aitken, at Pope's- 
head, in | Market Street. | M.DCC. LXXXVI. 8vo, pp. 26. 

As finally adopted it is in Hening, xil, 84. Cf. Jefferson's Autobiography, I. 
62 ; and Letters of Madison, i, 208, 213. 

238 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint ; that all 
attempts to influence it by temporal punishments, or burthens, or 
by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy 
and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy 
author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, 
yet choose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in 
his Almighty jiower to do, but to exalt it by its influence on 
reason alone ; that the impious presumption of legislature and 
ruler, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but 
fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the 
faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of 
thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring 
to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false 
religions over the greatest part of the world and through all 
time : That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money 
for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, 
is sinful and tyrannical ; that even the forcing him to support 
this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving 
him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the 
particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and 
whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness ; and is 
withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards, which 
proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an 
additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the 
instruction of mankind ; that our civil rights have nodependance 
on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics 
or geometry ; and therefore the proscribing any citizen as un- 
worthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity 
of being called to offices of trust or emolument, unless he profess 
or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him in- 
judiciously of those privileges and advantages to which, in 
common with his fellow-citizens, he has a natural right ; that it 
tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is 
meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly 
honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess and 
conform to it ; that though indeed these are criminals who do not 
withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who 
lay the bait in their way ; that the opinions of men are not the 


object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction ; that to 
suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of 
opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of prin- 
ciples on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous falacy, 
which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of 
course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of 
judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only 
as they shall square with or suffer from his own ; that it is time 
enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its 
officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts 
against peace and good order ; and finally, that truth is great and 
will prevail if left to herself ; that she is the proper and sufficient 
antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict 
unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, 
free argument and debate ; errors ceasing to be dangerous when 
it is permitted freely to contradict them. 

Sect. II. We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that 
no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious 
worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, re- 
strained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, or shall 
otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief ; 
but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to 
maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same 
shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. 

Sect. III. And though we well know that this Assembly, elected 
by the people for their ordinary purposes of legislation only, have 
no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies, constituted 
with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this 
act to be irrevocable would be of no effect in law ; yet we are 
free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are 
of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be here- 
after passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operations, such 
act will be an infringement of natural right. 




J. MSS. 

WiLLiAMSKURG, June 19th, 1779. 

Sir, — I have the pleasure to enclose you the par- 
ticulars of Colo. Clarke's success against St. Vincenne 
as stated in his letter but lately received, the mes- 
senger with his first letter having been killed.^ I fear 
it will be impossible for Colo. Clarke to be so strength- 
ened as to enable him to do what he desires. Indeed 
the express who brought this letter gives us reason to 
fear St. Vincenne is in danger from a large body of 
Indians collected to attack it and said when he came 
from Kaskaskias to be within 30 leagues of the place. 
I also enclose you a letter from Colo. Shelby stating 
the effect of his success against the seceding Chero- 
kees and Chuccamogga. The damage done them 
was killing half a dozen, burning 1 1 Towns, 20,000 
bushels of Corn collected probably to forward the ex- 
peditions which were to have been planned at the 
Council which was to meet Governor Hamilton at 
the mouth of Tenissee, and taking as many goods as 
sold for ^25,000. I hope these two blows coming to- 

• Dated April 29, 1779. It relates to George Rogers Clarke's famous west- 
ern expedition, and is printed in the Randolph and Washington editions of 




gether andthe deprivlngthem of their head will in some 
measure effect the quiet of our frontiers this summer. 
We have intelligence also that Colo. Bowman from 
Kentucky is in the midst of the Shawnee county with 
300 men & hope to hear a good account of him. The 
enclosed order being in its nature important and gen- 
erally interesting, I think it proper to transmit it to you 
with the reasons supporting it. It will add much to 
our satisfaction to know it meets your approbation.^ 

I have the honor to be with every sentiment of 
private respect & public gratitude, Sir, your most 
obedient & most hbl. servant. 

P. S. The distance of our northern and western 
counties from the scene of Southern service and the 
necessity of strengthening our Western quarter have 
induced the Council to direct the new levies from the 
Counties of Yohogania, Ohio, Monongalia, Frederick 
Hampshire, Berkley, Rockingham and Greenbrier 
amounting to somewhat less than 300 men to enter 
into the 9th Regiment at Pittsburg. The aid they 
may give there will be so immediate & important and 
what they could do to the Southward would be so late 
as I hope will apologise for their interference. 



WiLUAMSBURGH, June 19. 1779. 

Sir, — Our delegates by the last post informed us that 
we might now obtain blank letters of marque for want 
of which our people have long & exceedingly suf- 

' Proceedings of Council in case of Governor Hamilton, cf. p. 246. 

VOL. II. — 16 

242 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

fered. I have taken the liberty therefore of desiring 
them to apply for fifty, & transmit them by a safe 

The inclosed order being in it's nature important 
and generally interesting, I thought it my duty to lay 
it before Congress as early as possible, with the 
reasons supporting it ; nothing doubting but it will 
meet with their approbation ; it's justice seems to 
have been confirmed by the general sense of the 
people here. 

Before the receipt of your letter desiring a state to 
be made out of the ravages & enormities ; unjustifi- 
able by the usage of civilized nations committed by 
the enemy on their late invasion near Portsmouth, I 
had taken measures for the same purpose meaning to 
transmit them to you. They are not yet returned to 
me. I have given the same orders with respect to 
their still later proceedings in the county of North- 

Our trade has never been so distressed since the 
time of Lord Dunmore as it is at present by a parcel 
of trifling privateers under the countenance of two or 
three larger vessels who keep our little naval force 
from doing anything. The uniform train of events 
which durinof the whole course of this war we are to 
suppose has rendered it improper that the American 
fleet or any part of it should ever come to relieve or 
countenance the trade of certain places, while the 
same train of events has as uniformly rendered it 
proper to confine them to the protection of certain 
other parts of the continent is a lamentable arrange- 


ment of fortune for us. The same ill luck has at- 
tended us as to the disposition of the prizes taken by 
our navy, which tho' sometimes taken just off our 
capes, it has always been expedient to carry elsewhere. 
A British prize would be a more rare phenomenon 
here than a comet, because the one has been seen, 
but the other never was. * * * 


Williamsburg, July i, 1779. 

By his Excellency Thomas Jefferson, esquire, Governor or Chief 
Magistrate of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

A Proclamation. 

Whereas the General Assembly, by their act passed at their last 
session, entitled " an act concerning escheats and forfeitures from 
British Subjects" did declare "that (i) all persons subjects of 
his Britannick majesty, who on the nineteenth day of April in 
the year 1775, when hostilities were commenced at Lexington, 
between the United States of America, and the other parts of the 
British empire, were resident, or following their vocations in any 
part of the world other than the said United States, and have not 
since either entered into public employment of the said states, or 
joined the same, and by overt act adhered to them ; (2) all such 
subjects, inhabitants of the said United States, as were out of the 
said States on the same day and have since by overt act adhered 
to the enemies of the said states ; and (3) all inhabitants of the 
said States, who after the same day, and before the commence- 
ment of the act of General Assembly in tituled. Act declaring 
what shall be treason,' departed from the said States, and joined 
the Subjects of his Britannick Majesty of their own free will ; or 
(4) who by any County Court, within this Commonwealth were 



declared to be British Subjects within the meaning and operation 
of the resolution of the General Assembly, of the 19th day of 
December, 1776, for enforcing the Statute Staple, should be 
deemed British Subjects," and by their rjsohition of the twenty 
sixth day of the last month, they " required that^all the persons so 
described, and now resident within this Commonwealth should 
be banished from the same, and the proper measures should be 
taken to prevent their return, as also to exclude thereout all others 
so described, and not now resident within this commonwealth " I 
have therefore thought fit, by and with the advice of the Council 
of State, to issue this my proclamation, hereby strictly charging 
and commanding all persons coming under any one of the de- 
scriptions in the said Act, and now being within this Common- 
wealth, to be, and appear before me in Council at Williamsburg, 
on or before the seventeenth day of August in this present year, 
in readiness to depart the Commonwealth in such manner as 
shall then be prescribed to them, as they will answer the contrary 
at their utmost peril : And I do moreover charge and enjoin all 
officers civil and military, and all other the good citizens of this 
Commonwealth, to apprehend and carry securely to the command- 
ing officer of the militia of some county within this Common- 
wealth, all such persons, whom after the said day, they shall find 
lurking or being therein : And the commanding officers of the 
several counties are in like manner charged and required to 
receive the said persons, and all others so described, whom by 
the strictest diligence they shall be able to discover and take, to 
convey them in safe custody to the public jail in the city of Wil- 
liamsburg, and to make report of such their proceedings to me. 
And I do further prohibit all persons so described from entering 
into this Commonwealth during the continuance of the present 
war with their prince, under colour of any commission, passport, 
licence, or other pretence whatsoever ; and do publish and make 
known to such of them as shall presume to violate this prohibi- 
tion, that they shall be deemed and dealt with as Spies, whereso- 
ever they be taken. 

Given at Williamsburg on the first day of July, in the Year of 
our Lord One thousand, seven hundred and seventy nine. 



Forrest, July 4, 1779. 

Sir, — Your kind letter of June 19 I received on the 
2d inst. It is now some time since Colo. Bland wrote 
for leave to grant Permits to capt. Bartling & Lt. 
Campbell to come to the Argyle flag. Leave was 
immediately given by letter to Col. Bland. Some- 
time after I received another letter from him, accom- 
panied with one from General Phillips informing me 
that Lt. Campbell was come as far as Richmond, & 
waited for a permit to proceed. A permit was in- 
stantly made out and dispatched. Capt. Bartling was 
not mentioned on that occasion & therefore no permit 
was made out for him. The 3d inst. was fixed for Lt. 
Campbell to be at the flag to do his business, and it was 
only on the day before that your letter came to me by 
post. I shall instantly write to capt. Bartling giving 
him license to proceed, if his business remains still to 
be done, by a conveyance which occurs tomorrow. I 
thought it necessary to give you this detail of circum- 
stances that any delays which may happen might be 
ascribed to those accidents which may have caused 

I thank you for your kind congratulations ; tho' 
condolations would be better suited to the occasion 
not only on account of the labours of the office to 
which I am called, and its withdrawing me from re- 
tirement, but also the loss of the agreeable society I 

» From the original in the possession of Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, of New 
York. Riedesel commanded the Hessians in Burgoyne's army, and was now 
a " convention " prisoner at Charlottesville. 

246 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

have left of which Mad'me de Riedesel and yourself 
were an important part. Mrs. Jefferson in this par- 
ticular sympathizes with me, and especially on her 
separation from Mad'me de Riedesel. We are told 
you set out for the Berkely springs about the middle 
of month. We fear that this excursion, necessary for 
your amusement to diversify the scenes of discomfort, 
may deprive us of the pleasure of seeing you when 
we come to Monticello the last of this month. We 
shall stay there about a month. Mrs. Jefferson joins 
me in compliments to yourself & Mad'me de Riedesel, 
I shall be able to execute her commission as to the 
spoons and bring them up with me. 


Wmsburg, July 17, 1779. 

Sir, — I some time ago enclosed to you a printed 
Copy of an order of Council, by which Governor 
Hamilton was to be confined in Irons in close Jail. 
This has occasioned a letter from General Phillips of 
which the inclosed is a Copy. The General seems to 
suppose that a prisoner on capitulation cannot be put 
into close confinement tho' his Capitulation shall not 
have provided against it. My idea was that all per- 
sons taken in war were to be deemed prisoners of war. 
That those who surrender on capitulation (or con- 
vention) are prisoners of war also, subject to the 
same treatment with those who surrender at discre- 
tion, except only so far as the terms of their capitula- 
tion or convention shall have guarded them. In the 


Capitulation of Governor Hamilton (a Copy of which 
I inclose) no stipulation is made as to the treatment 
of himself or those taken with him. The Governor, 
indeed when he siofns, adds a flourish of reasons in- 
ducing him to capitulate, one of which is the gener- 
osity of his Enemy. Generosity on a large and 
comprehensive Scale seems to dictate the making a 
signal example of this gentleman ; but waiving that, 
these are only private motives inducing him to 
surrender, and do not enter into the Contract of 
Colonel Clarke. I have the highest idea of the 
sacredness of those Contracts which take place be- 
tween nation and nation at war, and would be the last 
on earth who should do anything in violation of 
them. I can find nothing in those Books usually re- 
curred to as testimonials of the Laws & usages of 
nature and nations which convicts the opinions, I 
have above expressed, of error. Yet there may be 
such an usage as General Phillips seems to suppose, 
tho' not taken notice of by these writers. I am 
obliged to trouble your Excellency on this occasion, 
by asking of you information on this point. There 
is no other person whose decision will so authorita- 
tively decide this point in the public mind, and none 
with which I am disposed so implicitly to comply. If 
you shall be of opinion that the bare existence of a 
Capitulation in the case of Governor Hamilton privi- 
leges him from confinement, tho' there be no article 
to that Effect in the capitulation, justice shall most 
assuredly be done him. The importance of this ques- 
tion in a public view, & my own anxiety under a charge 

248 THE WRITINGS OF [17 79 

of violation of national faith by the Executive of this 
Commonwealth will I hope apologise for my adding 
this to the many, many troubles with which I know 
you to be burthened. I have the honor to be with the 
most profound respect & esteem 

Yr Excellency's mo obedt & mo hble Servt. 

P. S. I have just received a Letter from Colo. 
Bland containing information of numerous desertions 
from the Convention Troops (not less than 400 in 
the last fortnight). He thinks he has reason to be- 
lieve it is with the connivance of some of their officers. 
Some of these have been taken, all of them going 
northwardly. They had armed themselves with forged 
passports, and with Certificates of having taken the 
oath of fidelity to the State ; some of them forged, 
others really given by weak magistrates. I mention 
this to your Excellency as perhaps it may be in your 
power to have such of them intercepted as shall be 
passing through Pennsylvania & Jersey. 

Your letter inclosing the opinion of the board of 
officers in the case between Allison & Lee is come 
safe to hand after a long passage. It shall be an- 
swered by next post. 


(sir guy carleton.) 

Wmsburg, July 22d, 1779- 

SiR^ — Your letter on the subject of Lieutenant 
Governor Hamilton's confinement came safely to hand. 
I shall with great cheerfulness explain to you the 


reasons on which the advice of Council was founded, 
since after the satisfaction of doing what is right, the 
greatest is that of having what we do approved by 
those whose opinions deserve esteem. 

We think ourselves justified in Governor Hamil- 
ton's strict confinement on the general principle of 
National retaliation. To state to you the particular 
facts of British cruelty to American prisoners, would 
be to give a melancholy history from the capture of 
Colo. Ethan Allen, at the beginning of the war to the 
present day, a history which I will avoid, as equally 
disagreeable to you and to me. I with pleasure do 
you the justice to say that I believe these facts to be 
very many unknown to you, as Canada has been the 
only scene of your service in America, and, in that 
quarter, we have reason to believe that Sir Guy 
Carleton, and the three officers commanding there, 
have treated our prisoners (since the instance of Colo. 
Allen) with considerable lenity. What has been done 
in England, and what in New York & Philadelphia, 
you are probably uninformed ; as it would hardly be 
made the subject of epistolary correspondence. I 
will only observe to you, Sir, that the confinement 
and treatment of our officers, soldiers and seamen, 
have been so rigorous and cruel, as that a very great 
portion of the whole of those captured in the course 
of this war, & carried to Philadelphia while in posses- 
sion of the British army and to New York, have per- 
ished miserably from that cause only ; and that this 
fact is as well established with us, as any historical 
fact which has happened in the course of the war. A 

25 o THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

Gentleman of this Commonwealth in public office, and 
of known and established character, who was taken on 
the sea, carried to New York and exchanged, has given 
us lately a particular information of the treatment of 
our prisoners there. Officers taken by land, it seems, 
are permitted to go on parole within certain limits of 
Long Island, till suggestions shall be made to their 
prejudice by some Tory refugee, or other equally 
worthless person, when they are hurried to the Provot 
in New York, without enquiring "whether they be 
founded upon positive facts, be matter of hearsay, or 
taken from the reports of interested men." The ex- 
ample of enquiring into the truth of charges of this 
nature according to legal principles of evidence, has 
surely not been set us by our enemies. We enquired 
what these Provots were and were told they were the 
common miserable jails, built for the confinement of 
malefactors. Officers and men taken by sea were 
kept in prison ships infe[sted] with [ ] ught 

on by the crowd \Parts of one line and all of another 
at bottom of the page lacking] from five to ten a day. 
When therefore we are desired to the possible con- 
sequence of treating prisoners with rigour, I need 
only ask when did those rigours begin ? not with us 
assuredly. I think you, Sir, who have had as good 
opportunities as any British officer of learning in what 
manner we treat those whom the fortune of war has 
put in our hands can clear us from the charge of 
rigour as far as your knowledge or information has 
extended. I can assert that Governor Hamilton's is 
the first instance which has occurred in my own coun- 


try, and, if there has been another in any of the 
United States, it is unknown to me ; these instances 
must have been extremely rare, if they have ever 
existed at all, or they could not have been altogether 
unheard of by me, when a uniform exercise of kind- 
ness to prisoners on our part has been returned by as 
uniform severity on the part of our enemies. You 
must excuse me for saying it is high time, by other 
lessons, to teach respect to the dictates of humanity, 
in such a case retaliation becomes an act of humanity. 
But suppose. Sir, we were willing still longer to 
decline the drudgery of general retaliation, yet Gov- 
ernor Hamilton's conduct has been such as to call for 
exemplary punishment on him personally. In saying 
this I have not so much in view his particular cruelties 
to our Citizens, prisoners with him (which tho' they 
have been great, were of necessity confined to a small 
scale) as the general nature of the service he under- 
took at Detroit and the extensive exercise of cruelties 
which they involved. Those who act together in war 
are answerable for each other. No distinction can be 
made between principal and ally by those against 
whom the war is waged. He who employs another 
to do a deed makes the deed his own. If he calls in 
the hand of the assassin or murderer, himself becomes 
the assassin or murderer. The known rule of war- 
fare of the Indian Savages is an indiscriminate 
butchery of men, women & children. These savages, 
under this well known character, are employed by the 
British Nation as allies in the war against the Ameri- 
cans. Governor Hamilton undertakes to be the con- 

252 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

ductor of the war. In the execution of that under- 
taking, he associates small parties of the whites under 
his immediate command with large parties of the sav- 
ages, and sends them to act, sometimes jointly, and 
sometimes separately, not against our forts or Armies 
in the Field, but the farming settlements on our 
frontiers. Governor Hamilton is himself the butcher 
of men, women & children. I will not say to what 
length the fair rules of war would extend the right of 
punishment against him ; but I am sure that confine- 
ment under its strictest circumstances, for Indian 
devastation and massacre must be deemed lenity. I 
apprehend you had not sufificiently adverted to the 
expression in the advice of the Council w^hen you 
suppose the proclamation there alluded to, to be the 
one addressed to the Inhabitants of the Illinois after- 
wards printed in the public papers & to be afifirmed 
to contain 'denun 

^Two lines at bottom of page g07ie.~\ ians' 

Proclamation, there alluded to, contained nothing 
more than an invitation to our officers and 
soldiers to join British arms against those 
whom he is pleased to call Rebels and Traitors. 
In order to introduce these among our people, they 
were put into the hands of the Indians ; and in every 
house, where they murdered or carried away the 
family, they left one of these proclamations, some of 
them were found sticking on the breasts of the per- 
sons murdered, one under the hand & seal of Gov- 
ernor Hamilton came to our hands. The Indians 
being the bearers of proclamations under the hand 


and seal of Governor Hamilton (no matter what was 
the subject of them) there can be no doubt they were 
acting under his direction, and, as including this 
proof, the fact was cited in the advice of the Council. 
But if you will be so good as to recur to the address 
of the Illinois, which you refer to, you will find that, 
tho' it does not in express terms threaten vengeance, 
blood & massacre, yet it proves that the Governor 
had made for us the most ample provision of all these 
Calamities. He there gives in detail the horrid cata- 
logue of savage nations, extending from South to 
North whom he had leagued with himself to wage 
combined war on our frontiers ; and it is well known 
that that war would of course be made up of blood 
and general Massacres of men, women and children. 
Other papers of Governor Hamilton's have come to 
our hands containing instructions to officers going 
out with scalping parties of Indians & Whites, and 
proving that kind of war was waged under his express 
orders ; further proofs in abundance might be ad- 
duced, but I suppose the fact is too notorious to need 

Your letter seems to admit an inference that, what- 
ever may have been the general conduct of our 
enemies towards their prisoners, or whatever the 
personal conduct of Governor Hamilton, yet, as a 
prisoner by capitulation, you consider him as privi- 
leged from strict confinement. I do not pretend to an 
intimate knowledge of this subject. My idea is that 
the term " prisoners of war " is a generic one, the 
specification of which is — ist Prisoner at discretion ; 

254 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

& 2d prisoners on convention or capitulation. Thus 
in the debate of the house of Commons of the 27th 
November last, on the address, the minister, speaking 
of General Burgoyne (and in his presence) says he is 
"a prisoner," and General Burgoyne calls himself "a 
prisoner under the terms of the Convention of Sara- 
toga," intimating that tho' a prisoner, he is a prisoner 
of a particular species entitled to certain terms. The 
treatment of the first class ought to be such as to be 
approved by the usage of polished nations ; gentle 
and humain unless a contrary conduct in an enemy or 
individual, render a stricter treatment necessary. The 
prisoners of the 2d Class have nothing to exempt them 
from a like treatment with those of the first except so 
far as they shall have been able to make better terms 
by articles of Capitulation. So far then as these shall 
have provided for an exemption from strict treatment 
so prisoners on Capitulation have a right to be distin- 
guished from those at discretion. \T'wo lines at bottom 
of the page gone ?\ certain causes antecedent thereto, 
tho' such instances might be produced, from English 
history too, and in one case where the King himself 
commanded in person. Marshal Boufflers after the 
taking of the castle Namur was arrested and detained 
prisoner of war by King William tho' by an article of 
capitulation it was stipulated that the ofificers and 
soldiers of the garrison in general, and Marshal 
Boufflers by name should be at Liberty. However 
we waive reasonino- on this head because no article in 
the Capitulation of Governor Hamilton is violated 
by his confinement. Perhaps not having seen the 


Capitulation, you were led to suppose it a thing of 
course that being able to obtain terms of surrender, 
they would first provide for their own treatment. I 
enclose you a copy of the Capitulation, by which you 
will see that 2d Article declares them prisoners of 
war ; and nothing is said as to the treatment they 
were to be entitled to. When Governor Hamilton 
signs indeed he adds a flourish, containing the 
motives inducing him to capitulate, one of which was 
confidence in a generous enemy. He should have 
reflected that generosity on a large scale would take 
side against him. However these were only his pri- 
vate motives and did not enter into the contract with 
Colo. Clarke. Being prisoners of war then, with only 
such privileges as their Capitulation had provided, 
and that having provided nothing on the subject of 
their treatment, they are liable to be treated as other 
prisoners. We have not extended our order, as we 
might justifiably have done to the whole of this 
corps. Governor Hamilton & Capn. Lamothe alone, 
as leading ofl^enders, are in confinement. The other 
officers and men are treated as if they had been taken 
in justifiable war ; the officers being at large on their 
parole, and the men also having their liberty to a 
certain extent. Dejean was not included in the 
Capitulation, being taken 8 days after on the 
Wabache 150 miles from St. Vincennes. 

I hope. Sir, that being made more fully acquainted 
with the facts on which the advice of Council was 
grounded, and exercising your own good sense in 
cool and candid deliberation on these facts, and the 

256 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

consequences deducible from them according to the 
usages and sentiments of civiHzed nations, you will 
see the transaction in a very different light from that 
in which it appeared at the time of writing your 
Letter, and ascribe the advice of the Council, not to 
want of attention to the sacred nature of public con- 
ventions, of which I hope we shall never, in any 
circumstances, lose sight, but to a desire of stopping 
the effusion of ye unoffending blood of women and 
children, and the unjustifiable severities exercised on 
our captive officers and soldiers in general, by proper 
severities on our part. I have the honor to be with 
much personal respect. Sir, your most obt & most 
hmble Servt. 


Albemarle, Aug. 7, 1779. 

Sir, — The enclosed order will explain to you the 
general plan adopted for regimenting, officering & 
stationinof the two Western battalions. We are in 
hopes you will so far proceed in concert with the 
other commissioners as that the chain of posts 
to be recommended may form a complete Western 
defence, leaving no chasm in the middle. We wish 
you, when you report the stations proposed, to advise 
us also to what particular station it will be best for 
the men of each county respectively to go. As it will 
not be long before the men ought to be raised ac- 
cording to the directions of the law, and it will be 

' From the original in the possession of Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, of 
New York. 


proper for the Executive to pay immediate attention 
to the procuring arms and camp utensils for them. 
I should therefore be glad if you will be so good as 
to lay before them a state of the arms in your posses- 
sion or at any other convenient station : also for your 
opinion what proportion of the men should be fur- 
nished with rifles, where rifles are to be had and on 
what terms. 


August 17, 1779. 

Sir, — You are desired to call together your Field Ofificers and in 
conjunction with them to recommend to the Executive a Captain 
and Lieutenant to take command in one of the battalions to be 
raised for the defence of the Westera frontier, under an act of 
the late Assembly entitled an act for raising a body of troops for 
the defence of the Commonwealth. The men to be raised in 
your County under the same act, and the Officers to be recom- 
mended by you, are to hold themselves in readiness on the short- 
est warning to proceed to such Western rendezvous as shall be 
notified to them by the Executive or the Field Officer who shall 
be directed to take command of them. 

Be pleased to transmit your recommendations to the Executive 
in Williamsburgh by the earliest opportunity you can, and also to 
report to them from time to time your progress in raising your 



WiLLiAMSiiURG, Sept. 25, i77g. 

Sir, — The various calamities which during the pres- 
ent year have befallen our crops of wheat, have reduced 
them so very low as to leave us little more than seed 

' From a copy courteously furnished by Hon. Elliot Danforth, of Albany, N. Y. 

VOL. II. — 17 

258 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

for the ensuing year, were it to be solel)'' applied to 
that purpose. This country is therefore unable to 
furnish the necessary supplies of flour for the con- 
vention troops, without lessening, by so much as 
should be purchased, the sowing for another crop. I 
am therefore to submit to you. Sir, the expediency 
of ordering your Commissary general to send sup- 
plies of this article from the head of Elk or wherever 
else you may think best, to Richmond. Colo. Aylett 
informs us they will require about ten thousand 
barrels for a year's supply. We hope there will be a 
plenty of forage and of all other articles, necessary 
for their subsistence, raised within this State. 


Williamsburg, Oct. i, 1779. 

Sir, — On receipt of your letter of August 6th. dur- 
ing my absence the Council had the irons taken off the 
prisoners of war. When your advice was asked we 
meant it should decide with us ; and upon my return 
to Williamsburg the matter was taken up and the 
enclosed advice given. A parole was formed of 
which the enclosed is a copy and tendered to the 
prisoners. They objected to that part of it which 
restrained them from saying anything to the preju- 
dice of the United States and insisted on " freedom 
of speech." They were in consequence remanded to 
their confinement in the jail which must be considered 
as a voluntary one until they can determine with 

1779] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 2 5 9 

themselves to be inoffensive in word as well as deed. 
A flaof sails hence to-morrow to New York to neo^o- 
tiate the exchange of some prisoners. By her I have 
written to Genl. Phillips on this subject & enclosed 
to him copies of the within ; intending it as an answer 
to a letter I received from him on the subject of 
Governor Hamilton. I have the honor to be Sir. 


Williamsburg, Oct. 2, 1779. 

Sir, — Just as the letter accompanying this was going 
off Col. Mathews arrived on parole from New York by 
the way of headquarters bringing your Excellency's 
letter on his subject, with that of the British comis- 
sary of prisoners. The subject is of great importance 
& I must therefore reserve myself to answer after 
further consideration. Were I to speak from present 
impressions I should say it was happy for Governor 
Hamilton that a final determination of his fate was 
formed before this new information. As the enemy 
have released Capt. Willing from his irons the Execu- 
tive of this State will be induced perhaps not to alter 
their former opinion. But it is impossible they can 
be serious in attempting to bully us in this manner. 
We have too many of their subjects in our power & 
too much iron to clothe them with & I will add too 
much resolution to avail ourselves of both to fear 
their pretended retaliation. However I will do myself 
the honor of forwarding to your Excellency the ulti- 
mate result of council on this subject. 

26o THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

In consequence of the information in the letter 
from the British commissary of prisoners that no offi- 
cers of the Virginia Hne should be exchanged till 
Governor Hamiltons affair should be settled we have 
stopped our flag which was just hoisting anchor with 
a load of privates for N. York. I must therefore ask 
the favor of your Excellency to forward the enclosed 
by flag when an opportunity offers as I suppose Genl. 
Phillips will be in N. York before it reaches you. I 
have the honor to be Sir with the greatest esteem. 


In Council, Oct. 8, 1779. 

Sir, — In mine of the second of the present month 
written on the instant of Colo. Mathews delivery of 
your letter I informed you what had been done on the 
subject of Governor Hamilton & his companions pre- 
vious to that moment. I now enclose you an advice 
of Council in consequence of the letter you were 
pleased to enclose me from the British commissary 
of prisoners with one from Lord Rawdon also a copy 
of my letter to Colo. Mathews enclosing also the 
papers therein named. The advice of Council to 
allow the enlargement of prisoners on their giving a 
proper parole has not been recalled nor will be I sup- 
pose unless something on the part of the enemy 
should render it necessary. I rather expect however 
that they will see it their interest to discontinue this 
kind of conduct. I am afraid I shall hereafter per- 
haps be obliged to give your Excellency some trouble 


in aiding- me to obtain information of the future usap-e 
of our prisoners. I shall give immediate orders for 
having in readiness every engine which the Enemy 
have contrived for the destruction of our unhappy 
citizens captivated by them. The presentiment of 
these operations is shocking beyond expression. I 
pray heaven to avert them : but nothing in this world 
will do it but a proper conduct in the Enemy. In every 
event I shall resign myself to the hard necessity 
under which I shall act. 


J. MSS. 

In Council, Oct. 8, 1779. 

Sir, — The proceedings respecting Governor Ham- 
ilton & his companions previous to your arrival here, 
you are acquainted with. For your more precise in- 
formation, I enclose you the advice of Council of 
June the i6th, of that of August the 28th, another of 
Sep. 19th, of the parole tendered them the ist instant 
and of Governor Hamilton's letter of the same day 
stating his objections in which he persevered : from 
that time his confinement has become a voluntary 
one. You delivered us your letters the next day 
when the post being just setting out much business 
prevented the Council from taking them into consid- 
eration. They have this day attended to them and 
found their resolution expressed in the enclosed ad- 
vice bearing date this day. It gives us great pain 

' An American prisoner from New York on parole. 

262 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

that any of our countrymen should be cut off from 
the society of their friends & tenderest connections 
while it seems as if it was in our power to administer 
relief. But we trust to their good sense for discern- 
ing & their spirit for bearing up against the fallacy 
of this appearance. Governor Hamilton and his com- 
panions were imprisoned & ironed, ist. In retali- 
ation for cruel treatment of our captive citizens by 
the enemy in general. 2d. For the barbarous species 
of warfare which himself & his savage allies carried 
on in our western frontier. 3d. For particular acts 
of barbarity of which he himself was personally guilty 
to some of our citizens in his power. Any one of 
these charges was sufficient to justify the measures 
we took. Of the truth of the first yourselves are 
witnesses. Your situation indeed seems to have been 
better since you were sent to New York, but reflect 
on what you suffered before that & knew others 
of your countrymen to suffer & what you know is 
now suffered by that more unhappy part of them who 
are still confined on board the prison ships of the 
enemy. Proofs of the second charge we have under 
Hamilton's own hand: And of the third as sacred as- 
surances as human testimony is capable of giving. 
Humane conduct on our part was found to produce 
no effect : the contrary therefore was to be tried : If 
it produces a proper lenity to our citizens in captivity 
it will have the effect we meant : if it does not we 
shall return a severity as terrible as universal. If 
the causes of our rigour against Hamilton were 
founded in truth that rigour was just & would not give 


right to the Enemy to commence any new hostilities 
on their part ; and all such new severities are to be 
considered, not as retaliation but as original and un- 
provoked. If those causes were not founded in truth 
they should have denied them. If declining the tri- 
bunal of truth & reason they chuse to pervert this 
into a contest of cruelty and destruction we will con- 
tend with them in that line, & measure out misery to 
those in our power in that multiplied proportion 
which the advantage of superior numbers enables us 
to do. We shall think it our particular duty after 
the information we gather from the papers which 
have been laid before us to pay very constant atten- 
tion to your situation & that of your fellow pris- 
oners. We hope that the prudence of the Enemy 
will be your protection from injury, & we are 
assured that your regard for the honour of your 
country would not permit you to wish we should suffer 
ourselves to be bullied into an acquiescence under 
every insult & cruelty they may chuse to practice, 
& a fear to retaliate lest you should be made to ex- 
perience additional sufferings. Their officers & sol- 
diers in our hands are pledges for your safety : we 
are determined to use them as such. Iron will be 
retaliated by iron but a great multiplication on dis- 
tinguished objects : prison ships by prison ships, and 
like for like in general. I do not mean by this to 
cover any officer who has acted or shall act improperly. 
They say Capt. Willing was guilty of great cruelties 
at the Natches : if so they do right in punishing him. 
I would use any powers I have for the punishment 

264 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

of any officer of our own who should be guilty of 
excesses unjustifiable under the usages of civilized 
nations. However I do not find myself obliged 
to believe the charge against Capt. Willing to be 
true on the af^rmation of the British commissary 
because in the next breath he affirms no cruelties 
have as yet been inflicted on him. Capt. Willing has 
been in irons. 

I beg you to be assured there is nothing consistent 
with the honor of your country which we shall not at 
all times be ready to do for the relief of yourself & 
companions in captivity. We know that ardent 
spirit and hatred for tyranny which brought you into 
your present situation will enable you to bear up 
against it with the firmness which has distinguished 
you as a soldier, and to look forward with pleasure to 
the day when events shall take place against which 
the wounded spirits of your Enemies will find no 
comfort even from reflections on the most refined of 
the cruelties with which they have glutted themselves. 


(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A. 

In Council, Oct. 22d, 1779. 

Sir, — Since the date of my former letter to you, I have reed, 
the inclosed resolutions of Congress containing a requisition of 
additional supplies of money. The General Assembly in consid- 
ering this subject will naturally cast their eyes on the funds 
already provided for the Supply of their public treasury. As a 
principal branch of these was in some degree under the care and 
direction of the executive, I mean the proceeds of the estates of 


British subjects, it becomes my duty to guard the assembly against 
relying in their calculations for any great & immediate supplies 
from hence. Facts have come to our notice which give great 
reason to believe that the transverse & other pleadings justly 
allowed by the law for saving the rights of those who have real or 
probable appearance of right is perverted to frustrate or delay its 
effects, by being put in on grounds either frivolous or false and 
by that means throwing the subject into a course of legal contes- 
tation which under the load of business now on the docquet of 
the general Court, may not be terminated in the present age. In 
one instance we are certified by the clerk of the general Court 
that the estate is claimed by the steward ; tho' this very man 
undertook to act as Commissioner of the estate under the seques- 
tration law by our appointment, and has himself personally ren- 
dered annual accounts to us of the proceeds of the estate as the 
estate of a British subject. Yet his claim palpably false as it is, 
in order to obtain the ceremony of being adjudged so, is to go 
through all the formalities of regular litigation before the estate 
can be exposed to sale. Perhaps the aids expected from this law 
might still be obtained however, and as perfect justice done to 
every individual by a legislative provision for determining these 
pleadings in a speedy way. I thought it my duty to guard the 
general assembly against any deception in their expectations from 
these funds, that no disappointments may accrue in the measures 
they shall be pleased to adopt. 

While on the subject of Continental demands for supplies from 
this State I am to inform you, sir, of an unfortunate delay in the 
settlement of the Continental accounts. Immediately on the 
rising of the general assembly the Executive proceeded without 
intermission to put into a course of execution the several things 
made incumbent on them, it was the 17th July before, according 
to their arrangements, they could proceed to appoint a Commis- 
sioner to settle the Continental account. They then appointed a 
gentleman fully qualified in every point of view to discharge this 
duty perfectly. His first letter, dated three days after the appoint- 
ment, gave reason to hope he would undertake the charge. Ill 
health however and other subsequent circumstances obliged him 
to decline, and the letter notifying that did not come to hand till 

266 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

the loth of the last month. Since this no person has been found 
competent to the business & willing to undertake it. We are in 
hopes that the more extensive acquaintance of the members 
of General assembly may enable them to appoint a person equal 
to this very difficult business. 

A Book of military institutions written by Major General 
Steuben and recommended for general use by Congress has been 
transmitted to me. I take the liberty of depositing it with the 
general assembly as on future revisions of their militia laws they 
may be able perhaps to extract some useful matters from it. Or 
it may be thought worth printing & dispersing among the officers 
of y" militia. 



In Council, Oct. 29, 1779. 
Sir, — The Executive in the Month of March 1778, in order to 
secure the acquisition & proper choice of a supply of Arms, 
Ordnance & Military implements sent a Mr. Le Mair of the 
Kingdom of France their Agent express for that purpose to Eu- 
rope. He executed his commission with a zeal and assiduity 
which we have rarely met with, having traversed for fourteen 
months those parts of Europe backwards & forwards where there 
was a hope of getting the articles wanted, and after eighteen 
months' absence returned himself in the last of three Vessels 
which he charged with ordnance and other necessities. His rea- 
sonable expenses we mean to pay and were about making him a 
proper pecuniary compensation for his time and great labour but 
he prays rather to be rewarded with military rank unattended by 
either pay or command ; expecting to reap greater benefit from 
this in his own Country to which he is about to return. The 
Executive apprehending they have no authority to grant brevet 
commissions, refer to the general assembly the expedience of 
authorizing them to give to this gentleman a Lieutenant Colonel's 
commission by way of brevet. They shall not indeed then think 


themselves discharged from making him some pecuniary com- 
pensation tho' a much smaller may be given than they had before 


(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A. 

In Council, Oct. 30th, 1779. 

Sir, — In pursuance of a resolution of the last session of Gen- 
eral assembly the Executive proceeded to form a Contract with 
Messrs. Penet Windel & Co. for the establishment of a manufac- 
tury of fire arms & foundery of ordnance on James river and for 
extending navigation through its falls. The several preliminary 
papers which passed between them are now transmitted to the 
general assembly that they may be. enabled to judge of the ob- 
stacles the executive had to encounter, and to see the reasons ex- 
plained which led them to the several conclusions. These articles 
also, as ultimately concluded, accompany this, together with a 
subsequent letter from Mr. Penet and memorial from Mr. Savarit 
desiring some alterations in two of the articles. 

The several objects of this contract must be admitted of the 
last importance : The depending on the transportation of arms 
across an element on which our enemies have reigned, for the 
defence of our own country, has been already found insecure & 
distressing. The endeavours of five years aided with some in- 
ternal manufacturers have not yet found a tolerable supply of 
arms. To make them within ourselves then as well as the other 
implements of war, is as necessary as to make our bread within 
ourselves. The present contract seems really to afford a promis- 
ing appearance of future supply. Should these articles meet with 
ratification from the general assembly, I must still inform them 
that obstacles are likely to arise, of a very perplexing nature, 
from an unlucky connection of the public with a certain Mr. 
Ballendine who has entangled himself into every part of the sub- 
jects of this contract. Some of his rights are real ; some only 
pretended. Unless they can be cleared away by legislation in a 

268 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

speedy mode, liberal compensation being first allowed him for 
such of them as shall be found just, the length of time which 
would be required to follow him through Courts of Justice in 
the ordinary course of proceedings, will defeat every hope which 
might be entertained from this Contract. The duty imposed upon 
the executive by the resolution of assembly led them necessarily 
to an investigation of this man's rights & pretensions. That the 
assembly may have proper lights to conduct their enquiries I will 
analyse his claims as they have appeared to us. They refer to 
three several subjects, which I will endeavour to keep distinct, to 
avoid that confusion they might otherwise throw on one another. 
I. To the furnace in Buckingham. 2. To the Foundry at West- 
ham. 3. To the construction of a navigable Canal at the falls of 
James river. 

I. Mr. Ballendine with a partner Mr. Reveley received by order 
from the assembly ;^5ooo in the year 1776 for the purpose of 
erecting a furnace in Buckingham & stipulated to repay it in pig- 
iron at seven pounds ten shillings the ton, which in fact amounted 
to a contract to pay the public 666| tons of pigiron. In 
December 1777 he received a further sum of ;^25oo. In May 
1778 he petiti@ned the assembly to release him from the obliga- 
tion of paying his Debt in iron at;^ the ton, and to take it 
at the Market price at the time of delivery of the iron, the as- 
sembly agreed that he should be allowed more than 7,10. but not 
the market price at the time of delivery, thus signifying their sense 
that there was some intermediate ground on which they meant to 
take their stand, but not pointing out what that was. This led 
us to suppose that the Market price of iron at the time of the 
paiment of the money to Ballendine might be what the assembly 
had probably in view. On settlement of his several accounts 
with the Commissioners whom we appointed according to the 
resolution of assembly for that purpose & whose report is trans- 
mitted herewith, there arose on one of them a balance in his 
favor for part of J,o 2' of pigiron delivered. The Commissioners had 
extended it in money at ^30. the ton, and transferred the balance 
of ^42-5 which that produced to the Credit of his account for 
the ^5000. or 666 1 tons of iron. We think they should have 
credited so much of the ^,02' of iron at ;^3o as would have bal- 


anced that account and transferred the residue, in iron, to the 
credit of his debt due in iron. This error would have been too 
trivial to have noted to you Sir, but as it tended to induce a false 
principle into the account, & to prevent us from informing you 
precisely that of the 666f tons due to the public for the ;^5ooo. 
there has been paid only ^3^, and nothing paid towards dischar- 
ging the additional ^^2500. To secure these balances the lands in 
which the money was invested were conveyed to the trustees 
themselves, but under an implied trust, that on payment of the 
debt conveyances should be made to Ballendine and Reveley : 
so that it is apprehended that they amount in fact to nothing 
more than mortgages. There is little hope that the balance will 
ever be paid ; an opportunity now occurs not only of making the 
securities produce to the public the real worth of what was ad- 
vanced on them, but also of producing it in arms & implements 
of war, the very articles originally proposed to be obtained by it, 
and which of all others are most immediately essential to the 
public safety. But a bill for foreclosing the trust to pass through 
the usual forms of proceedings in a Court of Chancery wall 
hardly bring us relief till I hope we shall not need it. 

2. The general assembly in May 1776 having determined to 
erect a foundry at Westham for casting ordnance appointed Com- 
missioners for that purpose. For the sum of ^242.10, which 
they paid Mr. Ballendine they purchased from him for situating 
the foundry three acres & an half of land adjacent to a Canal he 
was opening from Westham, and aright to deduce water from the 
Canal for turning a boring mill & other works necessary for finish- 
ing the Cannon — They were also to have free navigation down 
the canal to the foundry on contributing one moeity to the repairs 
of that part of the Canal, after it should have been once com- 
pleted, as he bound himself to compleat it. They erected their 
foundery and found it necessary to make advances of money to 
Ballendine to enable him to complete his Canal & dam on which 
alone they depended for water. The balance due the Common- 
wealth on these advances is ;^205i- 2- 5J as appears by one of 
the accounts transmitted herewith : for securing which payments 
a mortgage had been taken on 464 acres of land the whole of the 
real property of the said Ballendine at that place, so that the pub- 

2 70 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

lie possessions & interests at this place are the 3^ acres of land 
with the foundry on it, a right to draw off water for working their 
machines for completing the Cannon, a common in the navigation, 
paying one half the expense of keeping that part of the Canal in 
repair, & a mortgage on 46^ acres of land for securing the pay- 
ment of ;,^205i- 2- 5 J. But for the state of Mr. Ballendines Dam 
& Canal & the prospect of obtaining water as long as he is to be 
depended on for it, I beg leave to refer you to the report of the 
same commissioners. 

3. The extending navigation from Westham to Richmond, be- 
sides its other very general importance, being extremely requisite 
to promote the success of the proposed manufactory by reducing 
the difficulty & expence attending the transportation of the bulky 
articles of Coal, wood & other things necessary to be expended 
on it, and its own very weighty produce, we were led to inquire 
by what means Mr. Ballendine had got foothold there and on what 
pretensions he founds a right of constructing the navigable canal. 
In 1764 the assembly passed an act authorising the opening the 
falls of James river by subscription of money from individuals 
and appointing Trustees to take such subscriptions. Some per- 
sons accordingly subscribed, but no appearance of the arising of 
the works, being ever compleated in this way, the assembly after 
waiting 8 years, to wit, in 1772, passed another act for putting the 
business into a different train. They directed that as soon as the 
former & subsequent subscribers or a majority of them should 
think a sufficient sum raised any ten of them, being subscribers of 
^i^ioo each at last, might appoint a general meeting at which a 
president & 11 directors should be elected, who should have 
power to agree with an undertaker to cut the canal proposed, pro- 
vided such undertaker should first give sufficient security to per- 
form his agreement : they gave to the adventurers authority to 
carry the canal through any persons lands, paying the worth of 
them, allowed them certain tolls, and pointed out the precise mode 
in which they might transfer their shares in the undertaking, to 
wit, by deed executed by the president, the subscriber having first 
tendered his share to the directors who were to have the refusal 
at the same price : very considerable sumswere engaged under 

1 7 7 9l THOMA S JEFFERSON. 2 7 1 

this act : but there never was a meeting of the subscribers to 
elect a president & Directors, nor an undertaker employed. 
While this was in agitation Mr. Ballendine proposing to clear the 
falls of James river & the falls of Potowmack, set on foot sub- 
scriptions for enabling him to go to England to learn how to do 
it. Great sums were subscribed, he went, returned & brought 
some workmen. He purchased at the head of the falls of James 
river the 50 acres of land, three & a half of which were conveyed 
as before mentioned to the public for the foundery, and the 
other 46i mortgaged to them. He opened a Canal through this 
land and then of his own authority, without any act of assembly 
or even an order of Court, as we are told, he made a dam across 
an arm of James river & drew off 50 feet width of water along 
his canal. In November 1777 by Petition to the assembly he 
informs them that the subscribers under the last act of assembly 
had transferred their interests to him, that he had made consid- 
erable progress in the Canal & should finish it if he met with no 
interruption from those through whose lands it must pass & prays 
an act might pass vesting him with the former subscribers. Had 
the allegation in his petition been true, that the former subscri- 
bers had transferred their interests to him, such an act would 
have been unnecessary, because he would have stood on their 
footing ; but it could not be true, because the transfer being to 
be executed by the president after a tender & refusal of the 
share to the Company, & no president having ever been elected, 
there could have been no such transfer to him as he alleged. I 
have been thus particular, Sir, in order to show you that Mr. 
Ballendine has no legal right to the conducting the Canal which 
can stand in the way of the present Contract. He has an equity 
of redemption in the 46J acres of land before mentioned, and so 
far stands on the footing of every other landholder through 
whose lands the Canall must pass. He prayed earnestly that 
their rights might be sacrificed to him, on his paying them the 
value : can he then with modesty now say that his rights shall 
not be sacrificed to others, paying him the value of the injury 
done him ? It is now four years since he begun his Canal ; he 
has conducted it about one twentieth part of the whole distance : 

272 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

and this too while his workmen were with him, & his means, if 
he had any, were fresh. 

A very simple calculation then will inform us, that, in his 
hands the completion of this Work will require near a century, 
and then a question arises whether Mr. Ballendine will live so 
long. I think we may fairly conclude that he will never com- 
plete it. It is right that in cases of such general importance, the 
interests of a few individuals should give way to the general 
good, full compensation being made them ; and as right that Mr. 
Ballendine's should, as those of the others whose Lands were to 
have been laid open to him. He has had a long enough trial to 
convince the whole world he never will complete it. Other Gen- 
tlemen now offer to do it within a reasonable term. As the as- 
sembly then after an eight years trial & failure of the act of 1764 
made another experiment in 1772 it seems reasonable, after other 
seven years patience, to try yet other means. It is possible the 
present undertakers may not find it necessary to make use of 
Mr. Ballendine's Canal at all, but may take out the water else- 
where. But should they find that it can be taken off no where 
else, it is submitted to the assembly, whether his having dug a 
Canal along grounds thro' which the navigable canal must neces- 
sarily pass, shall privilege those grounds, more than the meadows 
& grounds of others are privileged, and for ever obstruct the 
opening that river, and whether there can be any sound objec- 
tion to the having in his case, as well as in those of others, a just 
valuation made of y^ injury he will sustain by the use which shall 
be made of his Canal, and after withholding the ^^2501. 2. 5 1 due 
from him to the public, on that particular account, to pay him the 
balance if the injury shall be found to exceed that sum. 

In stating to you the several obstacles which oppose themselves 
to the execution of the resolution of assembly, I have been neces- 
sarily led to mention circumstances which are to be found among 
your own journals & acts, & of which therefore you had knowl- 
edge before. They were necessary to continue the thread of the 
relation so as to render it intelligible, and are desired to be con- 
sidered only as references to your own Records for more authen- 
tic and precise information. 



(chevalier DE la LUZERNE.) 

In Council, Nov. 10, 1779. 

Sir, — In compliance with the request which you 
were pleased to lay before us, I am now to authorize 
the forces of his most Christian majesty to land in 
such place, and his vessels to withdraw into such 
harbors of this Commonwealth as the Admiral or 
other Commanding Officer shall think proper, and to 
procure houses for the purpose of hospitals. In de- 
termining on the place of his debarkation & encamp- 
ment, he will be pleased to follow his own judgment ; 
receivino- from us his information that the farther he 
can withdraw his vessels up our rivers into the coun- 
try, the more it would be in our power to assist in 
defending them against any attack from the enemy. 

York river according to our present idea would 
offer itself as the most defencible, but in this, &c., 
the board of war will issue orders for their immediate 
supply of provisions from our magazines, and will 
aid them with such of our vessels as may be neces- 
sary for procuring further supplies and landing their 
sick & other purposes. 

These general resources seem to be all we can 
take for their present relief, till their wants shall be 
more particularly laid before us. We beg leave to 
take this early occasion to assure you that we shall 
receive into our state the forces of his most Christian 
majesty with the utmost cordiality and spare nothing 

' From a copy courteously furnished by Hon. Elliot Danforth, of Albany. 

VOL. II. — 18 



which shall be within our power to aid and accomo- 
date them in whatever situation they shall choose. 

But in this or any other we greatly apprehend the 
difficulties and distresses which may arise from the 
want of proper houses for hospitals. 

I shall take great pleasure in showing on every 
occasion which shall occur, my personal gratitude and 
affection to your nation, and the particular esteem 
with which I am. Sir, 

Your most obedient and most humble ser't. 



Wms.burg, November 11, 1779. 

Sir, — I have lately received Messages and informa- 
tion from the Cherokee nation of Indians, painting 
their nakedness and general distress for want of 
European Goods, so strongly as to call for pity and 
all possible relief. Their several Settlements being 
contiguous to the two Carolinas & to Virginia they 
have at times received Supplies I believe from each 
of these States. Their great numbers however & 
the extent of their Settlements, when taken into view 
by any one of our States, bear a discourageing pro- 
portion to the moderate aids we can singly furnish 
and render a general distribution of them very trouble- 
some. These considerations have induced me to 
take the Liberty of submitting to your Excellency a 
proposition (as I do to Governor Rutledge also by a 

' From a copy courteously furnished by Dr. J. S. H. Fogg, of Boston. 


letter of this day's date) to divide the trouble and 
task of supplying them among our three States. 

The division of those Indians into Southern, Middle 
& Northern Settlements, renders the apportionment 
of them obvious. The protecting from intrusion the 
lands of the Southern Cherokees & furnishing them 
with Goods seems most convenient to South Caro- 
lina, the same friendly offices to the Middle settle- 
ments seem most within your power & the Northern 
Settlements are most convenient to us. The attach- 
ment which each settlement will by these means 
acquire to the particular State which is it's immediate 
patron and benefactor, will be a bond of peace, and 
will lead to a separation of that powerfull people. If 
this distribution should happily meet the approbation 
of your Excellency & of Governor Rutledge, we 
shall do every thing in our power for discharging our 
Duties to the Northern settlement. Knowing your 
disposition to have these people protected in the 
possession of their unpurchased lands, I also take the 
liberty of mentioning to you that the old Tassel in a 
late Message to me complains of intrusions on their 
lands, and particularly of some attempts to take from 
them the great island. This, by the late extension of 
our boundary, falling, as I understand, within your 
State, removes the application for protection to your 
Excellency, whose power alone can extend to the re- 
moval of intrusions from thence. As to so much of 
their lands as lie within our latitudes, as well as the 
lands of other Indians generally, our assembly now 
sitting has in contemplation to authorise the Ex- 

2 76 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

ecutive to send patrols of the military through them 
from time to time to destroy the habitations which 
shall be erected in them by intruders. The bearer of 
this Letter is a Major Martin, our agent residing 
with the Cherokees who will be able to inform your 
Excellency of any particulars you may wish to learn. 
We have reason to believe him a good kind of man 
& worthy of credit. Intending to fix a post and 
small Garrison in Powell's valley, we have ordered 
part of a battalion thither to erect a stockade. But 
as it would be proper for them first to assemble to- 
gether (being not yet embodied) at a nearer Station, 
and there being a fort and houses at the great island, 
we have taken the liberty of appointing their rendez- 
vous at that fort, till there shall be so many embodied 
as may proceed with safety to Powells valley. We 
have reason to expect that their stay at that place 
will be very short and hope it will not be disagree- 
able to your Excellency. The necessity of immediate 
orders, put it out of our power to apply for your 
previous approbation : We consider the measure 
still however subject to your pleasure and therefore 
take this early opportunity of acquainting you with it. 



Wmsburg, Novr. i6th, 1779. 

Sir, — Colo. Bland being about to retire from his 
Command at the Barracks in Albemarle, and desirous 
to withdraw at the same time the party of his horse 


which has hitherto been stationed there, wished that 
we should supply their place by sending thither about 
twenty or five and twenty of the horse of this State. 
Our horse being as yet not very well trained, the offi- 
cers represented that it would much impede that work, 
and leave the remaining fragment in a very awkward 
situation should we divide a troop. We have there- 
fore ordered a complete troop to that station ; but 
wish Congress would be pleased to notify as soon as 
convenient whether they approve of this or not. 

We have hitherto been unable to raise more than 
about the half of a Battalion of infantry for guarding 
the Convention Troops at the same Post. The defi- 
ciencies have been endeavoured to be supplied with 
Militia. Congress have had too much experience of 
the radical defects and inconveniences of militia ser- 
vice to need my enumerating them. Our assembly 
now sitting, have in contemplation to put the garrison 
regiment on such a footing as gives us hopes of filling 
it by the next summer. In the meantime a Battalion 
which we are raising for our immediate defence may 
be spared to do garrison duty this winter, and as but 
a small part of it is raised, as yet, and not probable 
that it will be completed within any short time, we 
suppose that with Colo. Taylor's regiment it will not 
exceed the number required to guard the Troops. 

I would observe to you that the Captains and Sub- 
alterns of this new Battalion are not to be called into 
service but as their men are raised ; so that the 
burthen which has sometimes been incurred of paying 
officers without men need not be apprehended in this 
instance. We have therefore Ordered this Battalion 

2 78 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

to rendezvous at the Barracks and do duty there this 
winter ; and that the Battalion should be discharged 
in proportion as these come in, on this measure also 
we ask the pleasure of Congress. 

The appointment of a successor to Colo. Bland will 
give us great satisfaction and we hope Congress will 
take it into early consideration. The duties of that 
post call for respectable Abilities and an uncommon 
vigilance and firmness of character. 


Williamsburg, Nov. 20, 1779. 

Sir, — Your Excellency's letter on the discrimina- 
tions which have been heretofore made between the 
troops raised within this state and considered as part of 
our quota, & those not so considered, was delivered 
me four days ago. I immediately laid it before the 
Assembly, who thereupon came to the resolution I now 
do myself the honor of enclosing you. The resolu- 
tion of Congress of Mar. 15. 1779 which you were 
so kind as to inclose was never known in this state 
till a few weeks ago when we received printed copies 
of the journals of Congress. It would be a great 
satisfaction to us to receive an exact return of all the 
men we have in Continental service who come within 
the descriptions of the resolution, together with our 
state troops in Continental service. Colo. Cabell was 
so kind as to send me a return of Octob. 1779. of the 
Continental regiments commanded by Lord Sterling, 


of the I St & 2d Virginia state regiments, and of 
Colo. Gist's regiment. Besides these are the follow- 
ing viz., Colonel Harrison's regiment of artillery, 
Colonel's Baylor's horse, Colonel Bland's horse. 
General Scott's new levies, part of which are gone to 
Carolina, and part are here, Colonel Gibson's regi- 
ment stationed on the Ohio, Heath and O'Hara's 
independent companies at the same stations, Colonel 
Taylor's regiment of guards to the Convention 
troops : of these, we have a return. 

There may possibly be others not occurring to me. 
A return of all these would enable us to see what 
proportion of the Continental army is contributed by 
us. We have at present very pressing calls to send 
additional numbers of men to the Southward. No 
inclination is wanting in either the legislature or 
Executive powers to aid them or to strengthen you : 
but we find it difficult to procure men. I herewith 
transmit to your Excellency some recruiting commis- 
sions to be put into such hands as you may think 
proper for re-enlisting such of our soaldiery as are 
not engaged already for the war. The act of assembly 
authorizing these instructions requires that the men 
enlisting should be reviewed & received by an officer 
to be appointed for that purpose ; a caution less 
necessary in the case of men now actually in service, 
& therefore doubtless able bodied, than in the raising 
new recruits. The direction however goes to all cases, 
and therefore we must trouble your Excellency with 
the appointment of one or more officers of review. 
Mr. Moss our agent receives orders, which accompany 

28o THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

this, to pay the bounty money & recruiting money, 
& to deliver the clothing. We have however certain 
reason to fear he has not any great sum of money on 
hand : and it is absolutely out of our power at this 
time to supply him, or to say with certainty when we 
shall be able to do it. He is instructed to note his 
acceptances under the draughts and to assure payment 
as soon as we shall have it in our power to furnish 
him, as the only substitute for money. Your Excel- 
lency's directions to the officer of review will probably 
procure us the satisfaction of being informed from 
time to time, how many men shall be re-enlisted. 

By Colo. Mathews I informed your Excellency 
fully of the situation of Governor Hamilton & his 
companions. Lamothe, & Dejean have given their 
paroles, and are at Hanover court-house : Hamilton, 
Hay, and four others are still obstinate ; they there- 
fore are still in close confinement ; tho their irons 
have never been on, since your second letter on the 
subject. I wrote full information of this matter to 
General Phillips also, from whom I had received let- 
ters on the subject. I cannot in reason believe that 
the enemy, on receiving this information either from 
yourself or General Phillips, will venture to impose 
any new distresses on our officers in captivity with 
them. Yet their conduct hitherto has been most 
successfully prognosticated by reversing the conclu- 
sions of right reason. It is therefore my duty, as 
well as it was my promise, to the Virginia captives to 
take measures for discovering any change which may 
be made in their situation. For this purpose I must 


apply for your Excellency's interposition. I doubt 
not but you have an established mode of knowing at 
all times through your commissary of prison- 
ers, the precise state of those in the power of the 
enemy. I must therefore pray you to put into motion 
any such means you have of obtaining knowledge 
of the situation of the Virginia officers in captivity. 
If you should think proper, as I could wish, to take 
upon yourself to retaliate, any new sufferings which 
may be imposed on them, it will be more likely to 
have due weight, and to restore the unhappy on both 
sides to that benevolent treatment for which all should 


[Nov. 30, 1779.] 
By His Excellency Thomas Jefferson, Esq ; Governour or Chief 
Magistrate of the Commonwealth of Virginia : 

A Proclamation. 

Whereas the exportation of provisions from the State will be 
attended with manifest injury to the United States, by supplying 
the enemy, and by rendering it difficult for the publick agents 
and contractors to procure Supplies for the American troops, and 
will moreover give encouragement to engrossers and monopo- 
lizers to prosecute their baneful practices, I have thought fit 
by and with the advice and consent of the Council of State, to 
issue this my proclamation for laying an embargo on provisions ; 
and I do hereby lay an embargo on provisions, viz., on all beef, 
pork, bacon, wheat, Indian corn, pease or other grain, or flour or 
meal made of the same ; to continue until the first of May next. 
And I do hereby strictly prohibit all mariners, masters, and 

282 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

commanders of vessels, and all other persons whatsoever within 
this State, from loading on board any vessel for exportation, and 
from exporting all or any of the above species of provisions, by 
land or water from the date hereof, during the term aforesaid, 
under pain of incurring the penalties inflicted by the act of 
Assembly intitled Aji Act to empower the Govcniour and Council to 
lay an embargo for a limited time, except as in the said act is 
excepted. And I do hereby strictly charge and command all 
naval officers and others, in their respective departments, to exert 
their best endeavours to the end that this embargo be strictly 

Given under my hand this 30th day of November, 1779. 



Wmsburg, Deer. 16, 1779. 

Sir, — We have information from our Delegates in 
Coneress that the detention of some continental arms 
by the executive of this State during the course of the 
last summer has given considerable umbrage to Con- 
gress. I beg leave therefore, thro' you Sir, to lay 
before that honorable body facts, simply as they oc- 
curred, hoping that these will satisfy them that, the 
arms being justly due to this State, necessity alone 
dictated the measure, and that no sentiment of disre- 
spect to Congress entered into the transaction. This 
State in an early part of the present contest raised at 
first two, and soon afterwards seven Battalions for its 
particular defence. Finding however that the dangers 
of our being invaded became less, our legislature made 
a tender of these Battalions for the Continental ser- 
vice. The tender was accepted of by Congress only 


on condition that we would permit them to carry their 
arms with them. They were accordingly marched 
to the grand army, time after time, as we could get 
them armed. I think this condition was dispensed 
with as to two Battalions only which Congress, induced 
by their increasing wants of men, permitted to march 
on without their arms. This is one of the articles of 
Debit in our account of arms against the Continent, 
which I state particularly, in order to bring it into 
recollection with some of your honorable members, 
and because, being recollected, it will go far in our 
justification as to the number of arms retained with 
us. Since this however, at different times, and for 
different corps, many smaller parcels of arms have 
been sent to Congress by us. It is a fact, which we 
are to lament, that, in the earlier part of our struggles, 
we were so wholly occupied by the great object of 
establishing our rights, that we attended not at all to 
those little circumstances of taking receipts, and 
vouchers, keeping regular accounts, and preparing 
subjects for future disputes with our friends. If we 
could have supported the whole Continent, I believe 
we should have done it, and never dishonored our 
exertions by producing accounts ; sincerely assured 
that, in no circumstances of future necessity or distress, 
a like free application of any-thing theirs would have 
been thought hardly of, or would have rendered 
necessary an appeal to accounts. Hence it has hap- 
pened that, in the present case, the collection of 
vouchers for the arms furnished by this State has 
become tedious and difficult. 

284 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

Our board of war has been attending to this business 
a considerable time, but have as yet authenticated the 
loan of only 5664 stand of arms and 580 rifles. They 
seem however to believe that (exclusive of considera- 
ble numbers delivered where no receipts were taken 
and the officers to whom delivered are dead or not to 
be found, which of course we shall lose) they will be 
able to establish a right to 10,000 stand. These arms 
were most of them of the very best quality, imported 
from Great Britain, by the State, for its own use. 
After the loan of so many to the continent, the loss of 
a considerable number put into the hands of the militia 
during the short invasion of the last spring, many of 
which we were never able to recover, and a very 
recent Loan of 1000 stand, to be sent on, at the request 
of congress, to South Carolina, we were reduced to 
not more than 3,000 stand in all our magazines. 
Rumors were spread of an intended invasion by the 
enemy for the purpose of rescuing the convention 
Troops : that body of men were in the heart of our 
Country under a guard not able to furnish centinels 
for ordinary duty ; congress had just recommended 
to us to prepare for the most immediate and most 
vigorous operations, and to have our militia ready 
to march at the shortest warning ; the knolege of 
the low state of our magazines had by some means 
got abroad, and spread a general alarm among our 
people : in this situation of things a vessel, loaded 
with arms, seemed to be guided by the hand of provi- 
dence into one of our harbours. They were it 's true 
the property of our friends, but of friends indebted to 
us for those very articles. They were for the common 


defence too, and we were a part of the Body to be 
defended. An officer came for the purpose of remov- 
ing them out of the State. Would circumstances have 
permitted a previous appHcation to congress, tho' not 
present myself, I so thoroughly know the respect 
which the executive bears for congress, that I am safe 
in affirming that such an application would most cer- 
tainly have been made. But had they awaited that 
ceremony, the arms would have been gone : the con- 
tinent of course would have been at the expence, and 
the arms exposed to the injury, and risk of, a double 
transportation : for I cannot but take for granted that 
congress would on such an application, in the case of 
a State so reduced in her magazines, and reduced by 
Loans to them, have ordered the arms to be replaced. 
Time however did not admit of this ceremony ; the 
executive therefore retained 5000 stand. We shall 
not draw examples of similar liberties taken by other 
States, we shall never recapitulate aids granted to, or 
taken by our brethren, from the common stock, because 
we wish it to be freely used for their service, and to 
draw nothing from it for ourselves unless our distresses 
should at any time be such as to point us out to them 
as objects needing the common aid. But we will ob- 
serve in general, that, between congress and this 
State, similar freedoms in other articles, had been re- 
peatedly and mutually taken, on many former occa- 
sions, and never had been the cause of discontent to 
either party. This precedent then, strengthened by 
the existence of an actual Debt, seemed to give a 
Double sanction to the executive for what they did : 
nor did any instance occur to them of unreadiness at 

286 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

any time to spare freely on continental requisition any 
articles within possession or power, which might ex- 
pose them to experience in turn the disregard of con- 
gress. I flatter myself therefore that that honorable 
Body whenever this matter shall be the subject of their 
deliberations will be of opinion that the proceedings 
of the Lieutenant Governor and Council were sub- 
stantially justifiable. They hope that no want of 
ceremony, or other smaller circumstance may have 
been matter of Offence to congress. If in this they 
should be mistaken, feeling the most real respect for 
that body, impressed with the Idea that its authority 
can never be wounded without injury to the present 
union, they are to lament the misapprehension & wish 
to remove it by assuring you, as they may with truth, 
that no sentiment of theirs, either on this, or any other 
occasion, has justified it. A motive of duty and respect 
to the collective council of our union has led me into 
this detail to remove all grounds of discontent from 
among us, and to assure you Sir at the same time that 
I shall consider as occasions of manifesting my zeal 
for our sacred cause. 


Williamsburg Deer. 16, 1779. 

Sir, — I take the liberty of putting under cover to 
your Excellency some Letters to Generals Phillips 
and Reidesel, uninformed whether they are gone 
into New York or not, and knowing that you can 
best forward them in either case. 


I also trouble you with a letter from the Master 
of the Flag in this State to the British Commissary 
of Prisoners in New York, trusting it will thus be 
more certainly conveyed than if sent to Mr. Adam. 
It is my wish the British Commissary should return 
his answer through your Excellency or your Commis- 
sary of Prisoners, and that they should not propose 
under this pretext to send another Flag, as the mis- 
sion of this Flag is not unattended by circumstances 
of suspicion, and a certain information of the Situation 
of ourselves and our allies here might influence the 
measures of the enemy. Perhaps your Commissary 
of Prisoners can effect the former method of answer. 

I inclose to you part of an act of Assembly ascertain- 
ing the quantities of Land which shall be allowed to 
the officers and soldiers at the close of the war, and 
providing means of keeping that country vacant 
which has been allotted to them. 

I am advised to ask the attention of your Excel- 
lency to the case of Colo. Bland, late commander at 
the Barracks in Albemarle. When that Gentleman 
was applied to, to take that Command, he attended 
the Executive here, and informed them, that he must 
either decline it, or be supported in such a way as 
would keep up that respect which was essential to his 
command without at the same time ruining his private 

The Executive were sensible that he would be 
exposed to very great and unavoidable expence, they 
observed that his Command would be in a depart- 
ment separate from any other, and that he actually 
relieved a Major General from the same service. 

288 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

They did not think themselves authorized to say 
what should be done in this case, but undertook to 
represent the matter to Congress and in the mean 
time gave it as their opinion that a decent table 
ought to be found for him. On this he undertook 
the command, and in the course of it incurred ex- 
penses which seem to have been unavoidable unless 
he would have lived in such a way as is hardly recon- 
cilable to the spirit of an officer, or the reputation of 
those in whose service he is. Governor Henry wrote 
on the subject to Congress. Colo. Bland did the 
same ; but we learn that they have concluded the 
allowance to be unprecedented and inadmissable, in 
the case of an officer of his rank. The Commissaries 
on this have called on Colo. Bland for reimbursement. 
A sale of his Estate was about to take place, when 
we undertook to recommend to them to suspend their 
demand till we could ask the favor of you to advocate 
this matter with Congress so far as you may think it 
right, otherwise the ruin of a very worthy officer must 
inevitably follow. 


(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A. 

In Council Dec. 23, 1779. 
Sir, — The inclosed letter from Governor Lee and intelligence* 
accompanying it, gives reason to apprehend that the enemy- 
meditate an invasion of this state. The reasons which support 
this opinion as well as those which oppose it will occur to the 
General Assembly. It is our duty to provide against every event 

' From the French Minister. 


and the Executive are accordingly engaged in concerting proper 
measures of defence. Among others we think to call an imme- 
diate force from the militia to defend the post at York, and to 
take a proper post on the South side of James river, but the 
expence, the difificulties which attend a general call of the militia 
into the field, the disgust it gives them more especially when they 
find no enemy in place, and the extreme rigor of the season, 
induce us to refer to the dicision of the general assembly, 
whether we shall on the intelligence already received & now 
communicated to them, call a competent force of militia to op- 
pose the numbers of the enemy spoken of ; or whether we shall 
make ready all orders & prepare other circumstances, but omit 
actually issuing these orders till the enemy appear or we have 
further proof of their intentions ? The assembly will also please 
to determine whether, in case the enemy should make a lodge- 
ment in the country, it would be expedient to avail ourselves of 
the laudable zeal which may prevail on their first landing and 
enlist a sufficient number to oppose them & to continue in ser- 
vice during the invasion or for any other term. Perhaps it may 
not be amiss to suggest to the assembly the tardiness of collecting 
even small numbers of men by divisions, that if any better 
method should occur to them they may prescribe it. The 
present state of the Treasury in more points than one, will no 
doubt be thought an absolute obstacle to every military endeavor 
which may be necessary. 



Wmsburg, Deer. 30th, 1779. 

Sir, — Your letter inclosing the resolutions of Con- 
gress relating to the capture of the Portuguese Snow 
by Captain Cunningham has remained hitherto unan- 
swered because I hoped Daily to be enabled to write 
more fully on that subject. The resolutions and 

VOL. II. — 19 

290 THE WRITINGS OF [1779 

documents accompanying them, as soon as received, 
were put into the hands of our Attorney General 
for his opinion, with intention to have such proceed- 
ings at Law instituted as he should advise. You will 
see that, by his opinion, which I do myself the honor 
of inclosing you, the Offence could not be prosecuted 
here criminally ; our act of Assembly, establishing a 
Court of Admiralty, having, in conformity with the 
Articles of Confederation, expressly inhibited it from 
criminal jurisdiction. The General Assembly being 
then to meet in the month of October, I reserved the 
subject to be laid before them, which was accordingly 
done. A great variety however of other Business, 
which would not admit of being postponed, occa- 
sioned them to pretermit this til their next session. 
So that if the offenders be within the Cognizance of 
the criminal Law at all (which the attorney seems to 
doubt) we have as yet no court wherein they may be 
prosecuted. A Civil action for Damages may be in- 
stituted ; and if the sufferers shall think proper to 
direct it, the countenance and protection of Govern- 
ment here shall not be wanting so far as propriety 
will admit or justice require. 

I am to acknowledge the receipt of your Letter of 
December loth, inclosing resolutions of Congress of 
the same Date, approving our measures for guarding 
the Convention Troops, and accepting the resignation 
of Colo. Bland. I hope that, ere this, his place has 
been supplied, as the constant attention of an officer 
of knowledge and understanding is requisite there. 
Perhaps his troubles might be lessened and his office 


more fully discharged, by residing at the Barracks, 
rather than at Charlottesvile ; these posts being five 
or six miles apart. 

The resolutions of the i ith & 14th inst. inclosed in 
your letter of the 14th unfortunately came not to 
hand till two Days after the rising of the General 
Assembly, which was on the 24th, and they will not 
meet again before the period for the delivery of the 
Indian Corn will be passed. They had however, 
early in the present year, laid a Tax payable in 
specific commodities ; and, in their late session, 
directed the Executive to raise from the proceeds of 
that Tax, six hundred thousand pounds, towards 
making up the quota's of money for which they were 
called on by Congress. The articles specified were 
Wheat, Indian Corn, rye. Barley, Oats, hemp and 
Tobacco at the option of the payer, but it is conjec- 
tured that paiment will be made almost wholly in 
Indian Corn & Tobacco. I am in hopes that, on 
those acts of the legislature, we shall be enabled to 
comply with your requisition as to the specific 
article and quantity required, as we may retain 
the Tax in its specific form instead of convert- 
ing it into money : but we shall fail in point of 
time ; because it happens, that the ultimate term 
of paiment allowed for this Tax is the Day on 
which your resolutions require delivery of it to your 
Commissary at such places as he shall appoint. In this 
point then will be felt the misfortune of the legisla- 
ture's separation before receipt of the resolutions ; 
the Executive having no powers to shorten the Day 



of paiment. I thought it my duty to give you this 
early notice of the particular part of that requisition, 
with which, from these circumstances we shall be un- 
able to comply, that the ill effects of disappointment 
may be lessened by other timely measures. 

The resolution of the 15th Instant recommending 
the continuance of embargoes is also received, that 
measure had been adopted some time ago as you will 
see by the proclamation inclosed. 

I shall hereafter according to the desire of your 
Secretary transmit you copies of our acts of Assembly 
by which you will receive more minute information of 
the measures taken in consequence of your recom- 
mendations from time to time than the compass of a 
letter would admit. 



Wmsburg, Feb'y gth, 1780. 

Sir, — Your Excellencys letter inclosing that of 
Mr. Scott to President Reed, and the President's to 
the Delegates of Pennsylvania in Congress, together 
with the resolutions of your honorable body recom- 
mending to both States to forbear granting lands 
within their disputed territory came safely to hand. 
I immediately availed myself of an opportunity, 
which occurred at that time, to Pittsburg, of taking 
measures to prevent any disorders on the part of our 
people, having had no other information on the sub- 
ject than what was communicated in the letters be- 


fore mentioned. I am uninformed whether any 
actual breach of the peace has taken place. As Mr. 
Scott however mentions nothing but the proceedings 
of the Commissioners for settling disputed titles 
under this Commonwealth, I rather hope that that is 
the only act which has been the subject of uneasi- 
ness. Our assembly finding that, in defiance of their 
endeavours to discourage and prevent the settling 
our Western Country, people were removing thither 
in great numbers, appropriating lands of their own 
authority, and meditating to hold them by force, 
after propositions, made and rejected at several ses- 
sions, for legalizing those settlements, at length 
found it necessary to give way to the torrent, and by 
their act of May 1779 to establish a land office. The 
irregular claims and settlements which in the mean 
time had covered that Country were become so ex- 
tensive that no prudent man could venture to locate 
a new claim, and so numerous that in the common 
administration of justice it would have engrossed the 
whole time of our ordinary courts for many years to 
have adjusted them. So multifarious were they, at 
the same time, that no established principles of law 
or equity could be applied for their determination ; 
many of them being built on customs & habits which 
had grown up in that Country, being founded on 
modes of transmission peculiar to themselves, and 
which, having entered almost into every title, could 
not be absolutely neglected. This impressed on the 
minds of the assembly the necessity of sending 
special Commissioners to settle, on the spot, & with- 



out delay, those various claims, which being once 
cleared away would leave the residuary Country open 
to the acquisition of other adventurers. The West- 
ern Counties were accordingly laid off into Districts 
for this purpose, and the arrangement being general, 
included the territory on the Waters of the Ohio 
claimed by the State of Pennsyslvania. Whether 
the Assembly did not advert to this circumstance, or 
took for granted that the Commissioners would never 


consider a law of this State as meant to be applied 
to those who professed themselves the Citizens of 
another, & had been freely admitted so to profess 
themselves by our Government, or whether they re- 
lied that the term of one year, within which they 
provided that no grant should issue on any judgment 
of the Commissioners would give them time for the 
settlement of our disputed territory, or at least to 
provide for the peace of their Citizens within it, is 
not within my province or power to say. This how- 
ever I can say, that from an intimate knowledge of 
their cordial desire to settle this claim with them 
amicably, no motive, inconsistent with that, entered 
into the transaction. In fact the execution of this 
Commission, guarded as its effects are by a twelve 
monts \sic\ delay of the grants, appears to be as 
peaceable & inoffensive as the mission of so many 
astronomers to take the longitude or latitude of the 
several farms. There is indeed a clause in the act 
of Assembly which might, on first view, be thought 
to leave an opening for the introduction of force. It 
is that which sais \sic\ that judgment be rendered, if 


posses be forcibly detained by the party against 
whom it is, restitution may be made by the Com- 
missioners or by any justice in like manner as might 
be done in the case of lands holden by grant actually 
issued : a Clause very necessary in our other Western 
Country ; but not at all applicable to that part of it 
claimed by the State of Pennsylvania. By the laws 
of this Commonwealth (the same in this instance 
with the English law) even in the case of lands 
holden under actual grant, no restitution can be 
made after three years peaceable possession, a term 
much shorter than that of any bona fide possessions 
in the disputed territory. The latest of these must 
be of six or seven years continuance, the present dis- 
pute having so long subsisted. The expediency & 
necessity therefore of the general measure of estab- 
lishing this temporary Court, I doubt not but Con- 
gress will perceive, and tho' it is to be wished that 
the disputed territory had been exempted from this 
jurisdiction, in order to avoid everything which might 
give jealousy or uneasiness to a Sister State, or which 
might lead them into an apprehension that we meant 
to do any act which sh'd wound the amity between 
us ; yet I hope when Congress contemplates it's 
effects, they will be sensible that it only amounts to 
a settlement on paper of the rights of individuals 
derived from this State and that no mans possession 
or quiet can be disturbed in consequence of any pro- 
ceedings under it, until our Legislature which meets 
in May next shall have had time to settle finally with 
them this unfortunate dispute, or otherwise to pro- 

296 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

vide against the evils they have apprehended. On 
my part nothing has been, or shall be omitted for 
preservation of the peace of that country. Besides 
the injunctions which, as far as the laws would 
authorize, I have urged to those the exercise of 
whose offices might lead to any thing disagreeable, 
or whose personal character and influence might aid 
in the preservation of peace, I shall avail myself of 
such other measures as may tend to the same object. 
The law having admitted grants to be sued out in 
cases where there were no contending claims of indi- 
viduals, I inquired at the proper office whether, 
previous to the receipt of the resolutions of Con- 
gress, any such might have issued for land in the 
Counties of Yohogania, Monongahela & Ohio, they 
being the Counties part of which are claimed by the 
State of Pennsylvania. I found that eight such had 
issued, under what particular circumstartf:es they are 
I am not able to discover. I am happy however that 
the law has left it in my power to comply with the 
recommendations of Congress, by witholding my 
signature from any other grants within those 
Counties, which I shall strictly do, and rest its 
approbation on the general Assembly and the 
motives which led to it. 

President Reed seems to think that this State has 
affected delays in the settlement of the right to the 
disputed territory. A review of the proceedings of 
our assembly on that subject will so fully convince 
you of their earnest and unremitting endeavours to 
procure an amicable settlement, that, without giving 


you further trouble, I may take the liberty of referring 
you to the inclosed State of their proceedings for full 
justification from this suspicion. The novelty of the 
line proposed for the Western boundary of Pennsyl- 
vania by the joint Commissioners, may well account 
for a hesitation to confirm it, until probable informa- 
tion can be obtained of its actual location. At the 
same time I must not leave unnoted that the joint 
Commissioners have not attended to the settlers 
under either State, who may by this new line fall 
within the other, nor made any proposition for 
quieting their possessions. Yet it is surely an object 
worthy, the attention of us all, to provide that a tract 
of country, derelict by the State under which they 
wished to live, should not be urged into a secession 
from the common union, and into an assumption of 
independence by fears that their actual possessions 
may be made to give way to mere paper titles. Should 
the reference of the proposition to our next session of 
assembly give time to avoid this evil alone, I am per- 
suaded it will be thought conducive to the quiet of 
both States. 

I shall take care to lay before our Assembly the 
resolutions and letters you have been pleased to com- 
municate to me on this subject, not doubting that 
they will supply those efforts beyond the limits of my 
power which are necessary to remove the present & 
prevent all future uneasiness — I can say nothing to 
whatever looks like menace on the part of our brethren. 
The choice of terms would be delicate and difficult, 
and their construction hazardous, which would ex- 

298 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

press a proper sensibility on this tender point, and not 
produce sentiments repugnant to that sincere love I 
shall forever strive to cultivate with all our Sister 
States. To history I must therefore refer for 
answer in, which it would be an unhappy passage in- 
deed which should show by what fatal indulgence of 
subordinate views and passions, a contest for an atom 
had defeated well founded prospects of giving liberty 
to half the globe. That no such blot shall wipe out 
the sequel of our glorious struggle I trust as well in 
the approved zeal of the Gentleman who adorns the 
administration of the other State, as in the resolutions 
of our own Government to postpone to the great 
object of Liberty every smaller motive & passion. In 
every Circumstance, Sir, the kind attention of your 
body will be remembered and approved, and no occa- 
sion omitted of assuring you with how great respect 
and esteem I am. 


Williamsburg, Feb. loth, 1780. 

Sir, — It is possible you may have heard that in the 
course of the past summer an expedition was meditated, 
by our Colo. Clarke against Detroit : That he had 
proceeded so far as to rendezvous a considerable body 
of Indians (I believe four or five thousand) at St. Vin- 
cennes: but being disappointed in the number of 
whites he expected & not chusing to rely principally 
on the Indians was obliged to decline it. We have a 
tolerable prospect of reinforcing him this spring to 
the number which he thinks sufficient for the enter- 


prise. We have informed him of this and left him to 
decide between this object and that of giving vigorous 
chastisement to those tribes of Indians whose eternal 
hostilities have proved them incapable of living on 
friendly terms with us. It is our opinion his inclina- 
tion will lead him to determine on the former. The 
reason of my laying before your Excellency this 
matter is that it has been intimated to me that Colo. 
Broadhead is meditating a similar expedition. I wish 
therefore to make you acquainted with what we had 
in contemplation. The enterprising & energetic genius 
of Clarke is not altogether unknown to you. You also 
know (what I am a stranger to) the abilities of Broad- 
head & the particular force with which you will be 
able to arm him for such an expedition. We wish the 
most hopeful means should be used for removing so 
uneasy a thorn from our side. As yourself alone are 
acquainted with all the circumstances necessary for 
well informed decision, I am to ask the favor of your 
Excellency if you should think Broadhead's under- 
taking it most likely to produce success that you will 
be so kind as to intimate to us to divert Clarke to the 
other object which is also important to this State. It 
will of course have wait with you in forming your 
determination, that our prospect of strengthening 
Clarke's hands sufficiently is not absolutely certain. 
It may be necessary perhaps to inform you that these 
two officers cannot act together, which excludes the 
hopes of ensuring success by a joint expedition. 

I have the honour to be with the most sincere 
esteem your Excellency's most obedt. & most hbl. 

300 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 


> 1 

Williamsburg, Feb. iS, 1780. 

Sir, — I have spoken with the Board of War on the 
subject of the battery at Hood's, and they concur 
with me in wishing to avail themselves of your ser- 
vices there, and will give orders accordingly. This 
together with similar batteries on the other rivers 
will probably take some time. Tho' considering their 
great importance to the security and quiet of the 
country above them, we are assured you will freely 
lend us your aid in seeing them planned and executed. 
We ask this the rather as the distresses impending 
over our sister state of South Caroline urges us to 
send forward the whole of our regiment of artillery 
(whom we have a power of sending out of the state) 
and a detachment from yours of about 80 under the 
command of Colo. Porterfield, with the two state 
troops of horse. Your battalion after this detachment 
is withdrawn we think to divide among the several 
battalions, and have reason to hope that the recruits 
for the two Eastern battalions will enable us to com- 
plete it, so that on you we shall rest for this campaign 
the burthen of our military cares, endeavoring to pro- 
cure a readiness of such aids of militia as may be 
suddenly called for by you. I must ask the favor of 
you to communicate to Colo. Porterfield orders to 
prepare immediately for marching, and to concert 
with him the best means of obtaining voluntarily the 
number of men required from your battalion. We 
understand a greater number of them have re-enlisted 

' From the original in the possession of Ferdinand J. Dreer, Esq., of Phila- 


under the act concerning officers, soldiers, sailors & 
marines, who of course are obliged to go : but we 
would rather call the willing into this service. 


Richmond, April loth, 1780. 

Sir, — The state of the recruiting business in this 
Country is as follows : There are some draughted 
soldiers in different parts of the Country, but they are 
so far, so disposed, & enlisted for so short a time that 
we have not thought them worth the expense of gath- 
ering up. There is recruits raising under a standing 
law concerning Officers, Soldiers, Sailors & Marines, 
these are enlisted for the war by a person resident in 
each County, we have an Officer appointed who rides 
the circuit of the County once in two months to re- 
ceive these men at certain places of Rendezvous, he 
has just finished his circuit, and we have sent on about 
fifty of these recruits under the command of Captn. 
Minnis to the Southward, All the Officers of the 
Virginia Line now in the State, who have (according 
to a request of the executive) applied for recruiting 
instructions & money, have received them. These 
have been given with a particular view of reenlisting 
such Soldiers of their respective Regiments, as are 
discharged, or are entitled to a discharge. I hear they 
are tolerably successful ; as to the ist & 2nd State 
Regiments particularly, there not having been money 
in the treasury enough to reenlist them at the time 
they became entitled to discharges, their Officers (as I 
am informed) postponed paying them off, gave them 

302 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

furloughs to visit their friends till the 1st of May, at 
which time they were to Rendivous \sic\ at Williams- 
burg & Fredericksburg, and it was hoped money 
would then be ready for reenlisting them, in the mean- 
time considerable sums have been furnished the Offi- 
cers, and more will be provided, and there is good rea- 
son to hope this Judicious \sic\ of their officers will 
enable us to recover most of them. Colo. Harrison's 
Regiment of Artillery is very considerably recruited. 
Under the preceding state of things, I do not know of 
any immediate Service with which we need to trouble 
you : perhaps you could be instrumental in giting 
orders from the proper authority for such of the 
above Reofiments as are not ordered to the Southward 
to march thither by fifties as far as they are recruited. 
We have such orders for all other new recruits not 
yet regimented ; but I do not consider those as orders 
authorizing the march of men raised by the Officers 
of a particular Battalion for their Battalion, and that 
not under marching orders. 



Richmond, May 13, 1780. 

Sir, — Your several favors of Dec. 4, Feb. 10, & Mar. 
30 are come duly to hand. I sincerely condole with 
Madame de Riedesel on the birth of a daughter, but 
I receive great pleasure from the information of her 
recovery, as every circumstance of felicity to her, 
yourself or family is interesting to us. The little 

' From the original in the possession of Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet of New 
York. In the Washington edition the date of this letter is erroneously printed 
May 3d. 


attentions you are pleased to magnify so much never 
deserved a mention or thought. My mortification 
was that the pecuHar situation in which we were, put 
it out of our power to render your stay here more 
comfortable. I am sorry to learn that the negotia- 
tions for the exchange of Prisoners has proved 
abortive, as well from a desire to see the necessary 
distresses of war alleviated in every possible instance, 
as that I am sensible how far yourself & family are 
interested in it. Against this however is to be 
weighed the possibility that we may again have a 
pleasure we should otherwise perhaps never have had, 
that of seeing you again. Be this as it may, opposed 
as we happen to be in our sentiments of duty & 
honor, and anxious for contrary events, I shall never- 
theless sincerely rejoice in every circumstance of 
happiness or safety, which may attend you personally. 
And when a termination of the present contest shall 
put it in my power, to declare to you more unreser- 
vedly how sincere are the sentiments of esteem and 
respect (wherein Mrs. Jefferson joins me) which I 
entertain for Mad'me de Riedesel & yourself, and 
with which I am. Sir, Your most obedient & most 
humble servant. 


(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A. 

In Council, June 8, 1780. 

Sir, — According to the advice of the General Assembly we 
have proceeded to take measures for selling six hundred thousand 
weight of the public Tobacco. To do this as readily as possible 

304 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

we determined to allot tor this purpose the Tobacco at the nearest 
Warehouses, and particularly four hundred thousand at the ware- 
houses at or near the Falls of James River and on Appomattox. 

We have now an offer for this quantity to be paid for at the 
market price, the Crop Tobacco on the 19' instant, the transfer 
in bills on Philadelphia, to be drawn now, but not payable till six 
weeks hence. As it was probably the sense of the Assembly, 
that this sale should be for ready money, we have not concluded 
this agreement, till we know whether it will be approved, nor 
should we have entertained such a negociation but that we have 
no prospect of selling for ready money. The Credit of the 
Gentlemen proposing to purchase is such in Philadelphia, as will 
probably render their Bills immediately negociable there. It is 
necessary for us to give them a definative answer today. 



Richmond, June 9th, 1780. 

Sir, — I had the honor of receiving your requisition 
for 1.900,000 Dollars & of laying the same before the 
General Assembly then sitting. They immediately 
took measures for complying therewith. As we had 
not the money in our treasury it became necessary 
to raise it partly & principally by a sale of property, 
and partly by borrowing. These operations requiring 
some time it is absolutely impracticable, however 
earnest their desires have been, to place it in Phila- 
delphia by the day proposed. I hope however I shall 
not be disappointed in my expectations of being able 
to send from hence by the 20th inst. nearly the whole 
sum or perhaps the whole in money, or in good bills 


on Philadelphia paiable on such short day as will 
render them equal to money.' 

On receiving from the board of war notice of the 
aids which would be necessary to forward on the 
Maryland and Delaware lines, I consulted with your 
Deputy Quartermaster in this State, and gave him 
every aid & power which he asked. He left me with 
the most confident assurance that waggons to move 
the whole corps should be with them in two days 
from that time. Why he quitted his station and 
State at the moment when every exertion was called 
for to forward a respectable body of troops to the 
relief of a sinking State & Army should seem to be 
worth enquiring. The mortifications I have experi- 
ienced from the repeated disappointments which 
flowed from the devolution of his duties on Deputies 
acting without a head, without concert, or communi- 
cation with one another, have been as great as if they 
had been really the cause of those unfortunate events 
they were calculated to produce. The artillery & 
I St. division moved after a few days' delay only ; but 

' On June 30, 1780, Jefferson wrote to the President of Congress : 
" By Mr. Foster Webb you will receive in part of the requisition of Congress 
of 1.953,200 Dollars, the following sums, to wit 650,000 Dollars in money, and 
bills for 780,239! Dollars, making in the whole 1.430,239! Dollars. There 
remains a deficiency of 522,960^ dollars which I hope to be able to send on 
within four weeks from this time. I should have been very happy to have been 
enabled to have sent on the 7vholc, in momy, and by \}aQ day prescribed : but be 
assured it was absolutely impossible. There is less money than our contracts 
had authorized us to expect, as you will perceive by comparing the sum sent 
with that I had mentioned to you in a former letter. This has been occasioned 
by a breach of contract in those to whom we had sold property to raise the 
money. Instead of this they have given us bills, which are sent on and 1 hope 
will be paid so that no disappointment may happen." 

3o6 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

the second division are but just now enabled to 

Our information from the Southward has been at 
all times defective, but lamentably so on the late occa- 
sion, Charlestown \_sic\ had been in the hands of the 
enemy 24 days before we received information of it. 
Their movements since that event are handed to us 
very imperfectly. The inclosed intelligence from 
Governor Nash seems to indicate an intention to 
penetrate as far Northwardly as they can. Whether 
under these appearances it may be expedient to send 
further aids to the Southern States can only be 
decided by Congress on a view of the operations 
which they may have in contemplation elsewhere. I 
have no doubt such aids will be sent unless greater 
good to the general union will be produced by 
employing them where they are. In either event 
great supplies of military stores are immediately 
requisite here. North Carolina has none at all, those 
of South Carolina are in the hands of the enemy and 
ours inadequate to the arming our own militia. As 
far as they will go, they have been, and will be cheer- 
fully submitted to the common use. Some members 
lately of our executive, but now of your honourable 
body, are able to give you a state of our stores, which 
I consider as a more safe communication than by 
confiding it to paper. Of musket cartridge paper, 
and cartouch boxes particularly we are so destitute 
that I must pray Congress to send us an immediate 
supply. These articles are so light too, that a single 
waggon if sent without delay may furnish a timely 
and considerable relief. 


About seventy new recruits for Colonel Washing- 
ton's horse, being now in this State & utterly 
unfurnished, will be provided with all necessaries 
by us. 

We are informed that the greater part of the 
Continental horse to the Southward are reduced to 
the same helpless condition. Some infantry also 
have applied for military furniture. Gibson's & 
Brent's battalions which went into Continental service 
full armed were disarmed when returned to us. They 
are now recruited to about 200 men, and will be 
modelled for service. We shall again put arms in 
their hands, as no motives will induce us to let the 
general good labour even a moment for want of 
anything we have. But it would be very satisfactory 
to us to receive the pleasure of Congress as to the 
mode of authenticating any advances of this kind 
which we shall make for them : some of the applica- 
tions having been necessarily made by subordinate 

The removal of our Seat of Government to this 
place has withdrawn us from the post road. A rider 
employed by some private gentlemen furnishes a 
precarious conveyance to Hanovertown, the nearest 
place on the post road. This has rendered all our 
communications with Congress and the other States 
very uncertain & our Southern ones particularly 
circuitous and slow. I believe there can be no doubt 
but that were the post directed to pass from Hanover 
Courthouse immediately through this place, by Peters- 
burg &c. it would shorten the distance and still more 
time by crossing James river and Roanoke where 


they are narrow and always passable ; whereas the 
present post road crosses where they are wide and 

I beg leave to submit the expediency of this altera- 
tion at this time particularly to the wisdom of 
Congress assuring them it is considered as very 
desirable here. 


Richmond June nth, 1780. 

Sir, — Majr. Galvan as recommended by your 
Excellency, was dispatched to his station without 
delay, and has been furnished with everything he 
desired as far as we were able. The line of expresses 
formed between us is such as will communicate 
intelligence from the one to the other in twenty-three 
hours. I have forwarded to him information of our 
disasters in the South as they have come to me. 

Our intelligence from the Southward is most 
lamentably defective. Tho' Charlestown has now 
been in the hands of the enemy a month, we hear 
nothing of their movements which can be relied on. 
Rumors are that they are penetrating Northward. 
To remedy this defect I shall immediately establish 
a line of expresses from hence to the neighborhood 
of their army, and send thither a sensible judicious 
gentleman to give us information of their movements. 
This intelligence will I hope be conveyed to us at the 
rate of 120 miles in the 24 hours. They set out to 
their stations tomorrow. I wish it were possible that 


a like speedy line of communication could be formed 
from hence to your Excellency's headquarters. Per- 
fect & speedy information of what is passing in the 
South might put it in your power perhaps to frame 
your measures by theirs. There is really nothing to 
oppose the progress of the enemy Northward but the 
cautious principles of the military art. North Caro- 
lina is without arms. We do not abound. Those 
we have are freely imparted to them, but such is the 
state of their resources that they have not yet been 
able to move a single musket from this state to theirs. 
All the waggons we can collect have been furnished 
to the Marquis de Kalb, & are assembling for the 
march of 2500 militia under Genl. Stevens of 
Culpeper who will move on the 19th inst. I have 
written to Congress to hasten supplies of arms & 
military stores for the Southern states, & particularly 
to aid us with Cartridge paper & cartridge boxes, the 
want of which articles, small as they are, renders our 
stores useless. The want of money cramps every 
effort. This will be supplied by the most unpalatable 
of all substitutes, force. Your Excellency will readily 
conceive that after the loss of one army our eyes are 
turned towards the other, and that we comfort our- 
selves if any aids can be furnished by you without 
defeating operations more beneficial to the general 
union, they will be furnished. At the same time I am 
happy to find that the wishes of the people go no 
further, as far as I have an opportunity of learning 
their sentiments. Could arms be furnished I think 
^this state & North Caroline would embody from ten 



to fifteen thousand militia immediately, & more if 

The followinor is a state of the force in and about 
to be put in motion 

Colo. Buford's regulars (of Scott's Woodford's 
men ........ 

Colo. Porterfield's do. of Virginia State troops 

Colo. Armand's horse ..... 

The remains of White's & Washington's as is 
said about ....... 

The Maryland & Delaware troops & artillery . 

Virginia militia ...... 

North Carolina militia under Genl. Caswell in 

the field 

do. embodying under Govr. Caswell if they can 

be armed ....... 

I hope e're long to be able to give you a more cer- 
tain statement of the enemy's as well as our situation, 
which I shall not fail to do. I inclose you a letter 
from Majr. Galvan, being the second I have forwarded 
to you. 












(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A.. 

In Council, June 13, 1780. 
Sir, — The supplies of cloathing and other necessaries actually 
procured for the officers of the Virginia troops having been very 
far short of what an act of the legislature had authorised them to 
call for, and it being evident to the Executive from a view of the 
supplies on hand provided by the board instituted for that pur- 
pose, and of the means now in their hands for making future 

1780] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 3 1 1 

provision, that there is no prospect that those allowances can be 
fully procured, I beg leave to bring the subject under the consid- 
eration of the legislature. Whether, on a revision of the allowance, 
it may or may not be found greater than is necessary, is a question 
for them alone to decide. The difference however between that 
allowance and what is actually received by the ofificers has pro- 
duced a claim for compensation which is the subject of the within 
letter and requires legislative explanation. These differences 
have been the cause of very real sufferings to the officers, of much 
discontent, and have produced the most distressing applications 
to the Executive. They have been more severely felt by the 
gentlemen serving within the state than by those engaged in 
more active scenes of duty, the latter having been supposed more 
exposed to wants with less means of supplying them. 


(benjamin HARRISON.') 

In Council, June 14, 1780. 
Sir, — In a Letter which I had the Honor of addressing you on 
the meeting of the present General Assembly, I informed you of 
the necessities which had led the Executive to withdraw our 
Western troops to the Ohio. Since the date of this letter, I have 
received the inclosed of the Second instant from Colo. Todd, 
communicating the measures he had adopted in conjunction with 
Colo. Clarke to procure such a Settlement contiguous to the Post 
which shall be taken as may not only strengthen the garrison 
occasionally, but be able to raise provisions for them. As the 
confirmation of these measures is beyond the powers of the Ex- 
ecutive it is my duty to refer them to the General Assembly. It 
may be proper to observe that the grant of lands to Colo. Todd 
was made on a supposition that the post would be taken on the 
North side of the Ohio, whereas I think it more probable on the 
north side in the Lands lying between the Tanessee, Ohio, Mis- 
sissippi and Carolina boundary. These lands belong to the 

' From Calendar of Virf;inia State Papers, 1, 360. 

312 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

Chickasaw Indians, who from intelligence which we think may 
be relied on, have entered into a war with us. 

The expenditures of the Illinois have been deemed from some 
expressions in the act establishing that county not subject to the 
examination of the board of Auditors. As the auditing these 
accounts is very foreign to the ordinary office of the Council of 
State, would emi)loy much of that time and attention which at 
present is called to objects of more general importance, and as 
their powers would not enable them to take into consideration 
the justice and expediency of indemnifying Col. Todd for his 
losses and services, as desired in the enclosed letter from Him, 
of the thirteenth instant, they beg leave to submit the whole to 
the consideration of the General Assembly — 



Richmond, June 15, 1780. 

Sir, — I received your Excellency's letter inclosing 
a resolution of Congress of the 5th inst. for the estab- 
lishment of a line of expresses from Cape Henry to 
Philadelphia. I had before on the request of Gen'l 
Washington formed such a line from Cape Henry to 
this place. I therefore thought it better to execute 
your desire by continuing the line from this place 
Northwardly, as it would save expence by availing 
you of what had been done before, and will probably 
render the conveyances more certain & expeditious 
than they would be were they to cross the bay to 
Cape Charles, or to cross James river to Hampton. 
The uncertainty of the former passage is well known 
to all ; and the latter ferriage is of eighteen miles, 
which frequently employs a day in the passage. I am 
forming a like line from this place to the neighbor- 


hood of the enemy's army in Carolina, sending thither 
a confidential and judicious person to collect & to 
convey intelligence of their movements and to con- 
tinue there so long as their operations shall be so 
very interesting as they are at present. I mention 
this latter circumstance to your Excellency because 
before the receipt of your letter I had made it the 
ground of a suggestion to Gen'l Washington whether 
it might not be proper (in order to give him the 
benefit of our Southern communications) to estab- 
lish such a line from hence Northwardly. Congress 
having in the meantime desired the establishment of 
such a line, I am only to submit to them whether 
when the communication from Cape Henry to this 
place shall be rendered unnecessary by the arrival of 
the French fleet, it may not still be expedient to con- 
tinue for a time the riders from hence to Philadelphia. 
These riders being stationed at distances not too great 
for a horse to pass without rest, and being ordered to 
travel by night & by day without regard to weather, 
I shall hope will convey intelligence at the rate of 
120 miles the twenty-four hours, which is a much 
greater dispatch than can be expected from the post, 
should a post be established on this road. 



Richmond, June 28, 1780, 9 o'clock p.m. 

Sir, — The want of intelligence of the Southern 
movements of the enemy, and the anxieties we have 
felt on that account, cannot have been less experienced 

314 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

by Congress. Having just now received a state of 
things as they are at present in that quarter, from 
Governor Nash, & from Colo. Monroe (the gentleman 
whom in a former letter I had informed Congress I 
had sent to hane as near as he could about the 
enemy's principal post & inform me of their move- 
ments by riders posted between us for that purpose) 
I take for granted Congress will be glad to have it 
communicated. I therefore have thought the occasion 
sufficient to set in motion the line of riders established 
from hence to Philadelphia, with orders to them how- 
ever to return immediately to their fixt stations, that 
they may not be out of the way to receive the partic- 
ular communications for the conveyance of which they 
have been established. 

The embarkation spoken of by Gov'r Nash & Colo. 
Monroe, cannot have been destined for this state, or 
they would have been here before this ; had they 
reached our capes by yesterday, I must have known 
it by this hour. 

Governor Nash, at the time of writing his letter 
seems not to have heard of the motions of our militia. 
It is certain however that some of them were at 
Roanoke on the 20th and that the whole have got that 
far by this time ; being 2500 in number. 

I have been greatly mortified at the detention of 
the important supply you had called for, so much 
longer than 1 had expected. I had every reason to 
believe it might have been sent from hence by the 
19th. It does not however go off till to-morrow. It 
will I hope be nearly what I had given you reason to 
expect in my letter on that subject. 


P. S. The Quarter-master has provisions on board 
vessels ready to proceed to the Head of Elk, which 
however he dares not send into our bay, that having 
been for some time occupied by from seven to eleven 
privateers, the largest of 20 guns, who take whatever 
goes out of our rivers. Our provisions when collected 
whether destined for the Northward or Southward 
will be effectually blocked up. Land-transportation 
cannot possibly be procured. 


Richmond, July 2d, 1780. 

Sir, — I have received from the Committee of Con- 
gress at headquarters three letters calling for aids of 
men & provisions. I beg leave to refer you to my 
letter to them of this date on those subjects. I 
thought it necessary however to suggest to you the 
preparing an arrangement of Officers for the men : 
for tho' they are to supply our battalions, yet as our 
whole line officers almost are in captivity I suppose 
some temporary provision must be made. We cheer- 
fully transfer to you every power which the Executive 
might exercise on this occasion. As it is possible 
you may cast your eye on the unre-employed Officers 
now within the State, I write to Genl. Muhlenburg 
to send you a return of them. I think the men will 
be rendezvoused within the present month. The 
bill indeed for raising them is not actually passed but 
it is in its last stage, and no opposition to any essen- 
tial parts of it. I will take care to notify you of its 

3i6 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

I have, with great pain perceived your situation ; 
and the more so as being situated between two fires, 
a division of sentiment has arisen both in Congress 
and here, as to which the resources of this Country 
should be sent. The removal of Genl. CHnton to 
the Northward must of course have great influence on 
the determination of this question ; & I have no 
doubt but considerable aids may be drawn hence for 
your army unless a larger one should be embodied in 
the South than the force of the Enemy there seems 
to call for. I have the honour to be with every sen- 
timent of respect and esteem Your Excellency's Most 
obdt. hble. servt. 



Richmond, July 2, 1780. 

Sir, — I have received & shall duly comply with 
the recommendations of Congress for corresponding 
with their Committee at Headquarters. It having 
been necessary to lay their «& your requisitions 
before the General Assembly, it has not been within 
my power to give any effectual answer till within 
these few days ; & now only on the article of provi- 
sions. I beg leave to refer you to my letter to them 
of this date, a copy of which I enclose. The frigates 
now in our bay will probably retire. Were it possi- 
ble for you to find means of clearing our bay of the 
privateers which have for some weeks infested it, we 
should be ready by the last of this month to send on 


our supplies. I think that Genl. Clinton having car- 
ried so considerable a part of the Southern army to 
the Northward, will leave it in our power, exercising 
the discretion you have been pleased to leave to 
us, to send a considerable portion of the grain we 
shall have to the Northern army, unless a larger force 
should be embodied in the South than the present 
strength of the enemy seems to call for. I should 
conceive that to embody there more than double 
the number of the enemy would be a waste of exer- 
tion both as to men & provisions. 

As it is expected our assembly will rise in the 
course of the present week, I shall then have it in 
my power to give an answer on the several subjects 
stated in a late letter from you, by informing you 
what is, and what is not done, and what also may be 
expected from the Executive in consequence of any 
powers the Legislature may vest them with. 


Richmond, July 2, 1780. 

Gentlemen, — I have received three several letters 
which you did me the honor of writing on the sub- 
ject of supplies of men & provisions to the grand 
army. The compliance with these requisitions not 
lying within the extent of my powers, I immediately 
laid them before the General assembly then & still 
sitting. A bill is now passed by them enabling me 
to call into public use whatever provisions may be 
spared by our citizens ; and this is put into a train 

3i8 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

of execution. I hope it will enable me to furnish the 
quantity of salted meat called for by Congress, & I 
think within a short time. Congress have left us to 
determine whether we can spare any grain to the 
Northward. It will not be in my power to say 
whether we can or not until I shall receive a return 
from those commissioned with the execution of the 
act, which shall not be till the last of this month. I 
can assure you of the strongest disposition to con- 
tribute everything within our power to aid the 
Northern operations, but it is necessary to apprise 
you of one circumstance. Transportation by land 
has been little practised in this country. We have 
therefore few waggons, & a great part of these have 
been lately drawn to the Southward. Transportation 
by water has been cut off for some time by the priva- 
teers which have been constantly cruising in our bay. 
These have been from six to eleven in number, the 
largest carrying twenty guns. To them are added 
at present eight frigates ; tho I can scarcely believe 
these mean to continue. In this situation nothing 
can venture out of our rivers — The Quartermaster 
has salted provisions for your army actually laden on 
board vessels, and a considerable supply of corn 
ready to send. But we see no prospect of getting it 
up the bay. The same causes will obstruct our sup- 
plies to the Southern army except from those parts 
of our country bordering on Carolina. 

The assembly have before them a bill for supply- 
ino- by draught 5,000 regulars to serve eighteen 
months. This I have no doubt will pass. It's exe- 


cution will probably take a month, counting till the 
general rendezvous of the levies in this country. 
Hence I fear that should Congress call them North- 
wardly they will not be ready to co-operate with the 
main army till late in August. 


Richmond, July 19, 1780. 

Sir, — I think it proper to inclose you a Paragraph 
from a late Act of Assembly putting the Militia with 
you under martial law ; it is the only part of the Act 
which relates at all to the Militia, for which reason I 
do not send the whole Act, the Clearks being very 
busy. This Act having been made after the Militia 
went on duty may perhaps be thought by them to be 
in the nature of an ex post facto law ; but as it is in 
your power to restrain its penalties from all Acts 
previous to its promulgation by you and even, if 
you please, from all subsequent ones except desertion, 
and such others as you shall find necessary, they 
may perhaps think it less hard. 


Richmond, July 26, 1780. 

Dear Sir, — With my letter to the President I 
enclose a copy of the bill for calling in the paper 
money now in circulation, being the only copy I have 

' From a copy courteously furnished by Hon. Elliot Danforth, of Albany. 



been able to get. In my letter to the Delegates, I 
ask the favor of them to furnish me with authentic 
advice when the resolutions of Congress shall have 
been adopted by five other States. In a private 
letter I may venture to urge great dispatch and to 
assign the reasons. 

The bill on every vote prevailed, but by small 
majorities ; and on one occasion it escaped by two 
voices only. Its friends are very apprehensive that 
those who disapprove of it, will be active in the 
recess of Assembly to produce a general repugnance 
to it, and to prevail on the Assembly in October to 
repeal it. They therefore think it of the utmost 
consequence to get it into a course of execution be- 
fore the Assembly meets. I have stated in my 
public letter to you what we shall consider as 
authentic advice, lest a failure in that article should 
increase the delay. If you cannot otherwise get 
copies of the bill, it would be worth while to be at 
some extraordinary expense to do it. 

Some doubt has arisen here to which quarter our 
3000 draughts are to go, as Congress directed 5000 
militia to be raised and sent to the Southward, in- 
cluding what were ordered there and these 3000 
(which I think will be 3500) draughts are raised in 
lieu of so many militia. 

The matter seems clear enough when we consider 
that a fourth or fifth of the enemy's force are in S. 
Carolina. It could not be expected that N. Carolina 
which contains but a tenth of the American militia, 
should be left to support the Southern War alone, 


more especially when the regular force to the North- 
ward and the expected aids are taken into the scale. 
I doubt more whether the balance of the 1,900,000 
Doll, are meant by Congress to be sent Northwardly, 
because in a resolution subsequent to the requisition 
of the sum before mentioned, they seem to appro- 
priate all the monies from Maryland Southward to 
the Southern military chest. We shall be getting 
ready the balance in which great disappointments 
have arisen from an inability to sell our tobacco, and 
in the meantime wish I could be advised whether it 
is to go Northward or Southward. The aids of 
money from the State through the rest of the present 
year will be small, our taxes being effectually antici- 
pated by certificates issued for want of money and 
for which the sheriffs are glad to exchange their col- 
lections rather than bring them to the Treasury. 
Congress desired N. Carolina & Virginia to recruit, 
remount, & equip Washington's & White's horse. 
The whole has been done by us except as to 200 
saddles which the Q. M. expects to get from the 
Northward. This draws from us about six or seven 
hundred thousand pounds, the half of which I sup- 
pose is so much more than was expected from us. 
We took on us the whole, because we supposed N. 
Carolina would be considerably burthened with calls 
for occasional horse, in the present low state of our 
Cavalry, and that the disabled horses would be prin- 
cipally to be exchanged there for fresh. 

Our troops are in the utmost distress for clothing 
as are also our Officers. What we are to do with 

VOL. II.— 21 

322 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

the 3000 draughts when they are raised I cannot 

Our new Institution at the College has had a 
success which has gained it universal applause. 
Wythe's school is numerous, • they hold weekly 
Courts & Assemblies in the Capitol. The professors 
join in it, and the young men dispute with elegance, 
method & learning. This single school by throwing 
from time to time new hands well principled, & well 
informed into the legislature, will be of infinite value. 



Richmond, July 27. 1780. 
Sir, — According to the desire of Congress ex- 
pressed in their resolutions of the 17th ult. I shall 
endeavor to inform them what has been done by this 
state in consequence of the several resolutions there 
referred to. 


Mar. 9. Recommendation to the States to compleat their re- 
spective quotas of 80. battalions. 

Feb. 9. United States to furnish their respective deficiencies 
of 35,211 men on or before the ist of Apr. 

May 20. The United States to forward their quotas of troops 
to join the Continental army. 

The assembly at their session in May 1779 (being 
the first after the recommendation of Mar. 9.) 
desirous not only of furnishing their quota of troops 


then wanting, but to provide permanent means for 
keeping up the same by voluntary enlistments, passed 
an act for appointing a recruiting officer to be resi- 
dent in every county, whose occupation it should be 
constantly to endeavor to enlist within his county 
souldiers to serve during the war. That the officer 
might be industrious he was allowed a premium of 
150. paper dollars, then worth \2\ hard dollars for 
every man he enlisted : that the people within the 
county might encourage the recruiting service, they 
were to have credit in any future draughts for all the 
men their recruiting officer should raise : and the 
souldier was to receive a bounty of 750 paper dollars, 
then equal to 62^ hard dollars, the advantage of lay- 
ing out his pay in the public store, at the hard money 
prices, and the other usual donations of clothes and 
lands. These encouragements however did not fully 
answer our expectations. The assembly therefore at 
their next session in Oct. 1779 took supplementory 
measures for raising their quota by endeavoring to 
re-enlist, for the war, their souldiers whose times of 
service would expire within the ensuing year. This 
essay also failed to produce their quota of men, even 
as settled in the resolutions of Feb. 9. 1780. The 
Executive therefore immediately ordered nearly the 
whole of their troops which had been reserved for the 
particular defence of the state to join the Continental 
army to the Southward. That some idea may be 
formed of the proportion of their quota which this 
addition affected, I beg leave to refer to the inclosed 
state No. i. made out from the returns therein re- 



ferred to which have been made" to me, their dates 
being from Oct. 13. 1779 to March 5, 1780, except 
as to the state troops ordered into service as above, 
whose numbers are entered as they marched the 2d. 
of May following. To these may be added some- 
thing upwards of 300 new recruits there engaged for 
the war, of whom no return having been regularly 
made they are not entered. The assembly which 
met in May of the present year passed one act 
for sending 2500 militia into the field, which has been 
carried into execution : and another for raising by 
way of draught one fifteenth of the whole number of 
our militia, which after all probable deductions they 
count as upon 3000. men. These are to serve as 
regulars till Dec. 31. 1781, and will be rendezvoused 
about the last of the ensuing month. 


May 21. United States called on for a tax of 45,000,000 D. in 
addition to what was called for 2d. Jan. to be paid by ist. Jan. 

Sep. 13. Circular letter, among other things stating the neces- 
sity of paying into the Continental treasury the monies called 
for & of adopting measures to bring their respective quotas of 
troops into the field early next campaign & provide for supplies 
necessary in the course of it. 

By the resolution of Jan. 2 and 5. 1779. Vir- 
ginia was to pay for the year 1779 2,400,000 Doll. = 
720,000^. For the year 1780 1,000,000 [D] = 300,- 
000 [/]. By the resolution of May 21. we were to 
pay between Feb. i & Oct. i. 7.200.000 [D] = 2.160.- 
000 [;^] making in the whole 10.600.000 [D] = 


3.180.000 [;^]. I beg leave to refer you to the en- 
closed No. 2, a very imperfect state of our disburse- 
ments for the Continent. Whenever the books of 
our Auditors shall be put under a proper course of 
Examination many other articles of expenditure for 
the Continent will doubtless be found which have 
escaped the present hasty examination. By this 
state it appears that we have answered for the Con- 
tinent since May 21. 1779. 4,404,440-13;^ = i3»68i,- 
368f Dollars. There are still very considerable 
warrants out, which we have assumed ; some of them 
partly unpaid, some wholly so. 


Oct. 6. 7. United States to collect and pay into the Conti- 
nental treasury their respective quotas of 15,000,000 D. monthly 
from Jan. inclusive to Octob. 

9, Circular letter urging the necessity of a punctual paiment 
of the quotas. 

Mar. 18. Sundry resolutions for calling in the bills in circula- 
tion and emitting new bills on certain funds. 

The assembly which was sitting when the resolu- 
tions of Oct. 6. 7. came to hand, passed acts for in- 
creasing the public taxes and for borrowing money 
in order to enable them to comply with the requisi- 
tion of Congress. The subsequent resolutions how- 
ever of Mar. 18. 1780. as to the same money having 
rendered it necessary for the assembly to make a cor- 
responding change in their measures, they passed at 
their late session the inclosed act No. 3, to which I 
beg leave to refer Congress, and to assure them at 

326 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

the same time that the moment I can receive authen- 
tic advices that five other States shall have acceded 
to the resolutions of Mar. 18. this act shall be put 
into a course of execution. 


May 19. The states from N. Hampshire to Virginia inclusive 
to pay into the Continental treasury 10,000,000 dollars in thirty 

This requisition could not be complied with in 
point of time for reasons explained in my letter to 
your Excellency of June 30. 1780. With that we 
sent on in money and bills 1,430,239! Dollars. We 
are still to send on 522,960^ Dollars to make up our 
whole quota of 1,953,200 Doll, unless the resolution 
of June 17 was meant to appropriate this requisition 
to the supply of the military chest in the Southern 
department. There is no other balance due from 
this State whereon that resolution can operate, as 
will be perceived by my observations on the resolu- 
tions of May 21. On this head I pray instructions 
from Congress. 


Dec. II. Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, N, 
Jersey & Connecticut certain quantities of flour & corn by ist. 
of April. 


Feb. 25. United States to furnish their respective quotas of 
specific supplies mentioned. 

It is not in my power to state with accuracy what 
is done towards furnishing these supplies. Extensive 


orders have from time to time been given out, which 
have been carried, and still are carrying into execu- 
tion ; but no returns are made which enable me to 
say what is precisely done. On receipt of the resolu- 
tion of Dec. II. notice was given to the Continental 
Q. Master that we should be ready to give him 
orders for the grain which was then coming in under 
an act of assembly which had laid a specific tax in 
o-rain. What would be the amount of this, was not 
then known. We since find that what we allotted to 
Continental use amounted to about 80,000 bushels 
of short forage. Part of this has been received and 
the rest we are collecting for the Continental Quar- 
termaster & Commissary, to the posts recommended 
by Genl. Washington. This no doubt is counted in 
part of the subsequent requisitions of Feb. 25. Large 
orders are out for the purchase of beeves. Consid- 
erable quantities of specifics have been furnished to 
the troops marching to the Southward. Our endeavors 
indeed have been much disappointed by the insuffi- 
ciency of our revenues to answer these, and the calls 
for money for other purposes. Our ultimate depend- 
ance for supplying deficiencies in the articles of meat, 
flour, salt, short forage & rum, is on the Act No 4. 
herewith transmitted, 

A specific tax in tobacco is paiable on the 31st. 
day of December next. Of this about 3725 hogsheads 
were appropriated as a fund whereon to borrow 
money under the calls of Congress of Oct. 6. & 7. 
1779. But another provision for this call being made 
by the act No. 3. these tobaccos remain unappropri- 

328 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

ated & of course free to be applied by the assembly 
according to the requisitions of Feb. 25. They will 
have brought in under the same specific tax as much 
as would make up the residue required. Whether 
they may think proper to change the appropriation 
of it for this purpose, or how otherwise they will fur- 
nish it is for them to determine. 

It would have given me great pleasure to have 
been able to show Congress that their requisitions 
had all been complied with in this state accurately in 
time, quantity & every other circumstance. It will 
doubtless occur that some of these requisitions were 
difficult in their nature, that others were new in ex- 
periment, and all of them on as large a scale as the 
people think themselves equal to. In states more 
compact, experiments, tho' new and difficult, are made 
with promptitude, their defects soon discovered and 
readily supplied. In those of greater extent they are 
carried into execution with less vigor and punctuality, 
and the time for complying with a requisition expires 
frequently before it is discovered that the means 
provided were defective. The time necessary for 
convening the legislature of such a state adds to 
the tardiness of the remedy, and the measure itself 
is so oppressive on the members as to discourage the 
attempting it, but on the last emergencies. These 
and other considerations will readily occur to Con- 
gress, and will refer to their true causes any inaccu- 
racies which may have occurred in the execution of 
their desires. 



Richmond, August 4, 1780. 

Sir, — Your several favors of July 19. 21. and 22, 
are now before me. I have enquired into the state of 
the Cartouch boxes which were sent from our maga- 
zine. The Quartermaster assures me they were in 
very good order. I must therefore conclude that the 
300 complained of by Genl. Stevens were some sent 
from Petersburg by the Continental Quarter master 
or that they were pillaged of the leather on the way, 
to mend shoes &c. We had hopes of getting 2000 
from the Board of War, but we got only about 600 
and they are said to be unfit for use. We are en- 
gaged in making bayonet belts, which shall be for- 
warded. But it is extremely difficult to procure 
leather. The consumption of beef by your army will, 
I hope, remove the want of this article another year. 
I have ordered the 500 axes you desired with some 
tomahawks to be made. They turn out about 20 a 
day. About 100 will go on by the waggons Genl. 
Stevens sent us, which are now loading at this place. 
These waggons will carry some ammunition and 
spirit. A vessel with about 3000 stand of arms com- 
ing down the bay for the use of your army, was driven 
by privateers into Wicomico. We are endeavouring 
to get them forwarded either by land or water. The 
want of waggons will greatly retard them. What is 
to be done for tents, I know not. I am assured that 
very little duck can be got in this country. What- 
ever there is however will be produced under a com- 

330 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

mission gone out for that purpose. The duck you 
speak of as being in North Carolina cannot be pro- 
cured by that state on continental account for the use 
of the army. I communicated your orders to Colo. 
Finnie and to Colo. Buford and have directed proper 
applications for the repairs of the bridges &c you 
mention. Arms are ready for Bufords, Daviess and 
Gibsons men. Gibson's men are cloathed and wait 
only to be paid, which will be done within the course 
of a week. Clothing has been issued some time for 
the others, which is making up under the superinten- 
dence of Colo. Davies. They are utterly destitute of 
blankets, and I fear we shall be unable to get any. 
Brents infantry are but 30. and cannot be sent on 
without bringing on disagreeable disputes about rank 
between his ofificers and Gibsons. To silence these, 
the march of his men has been countermanded. Colo. 
Finnie informs me that major Lees infantry has been 
sent back by special orders. We have ordered 243 
horses to be purchased for Colos. White and Wash- 
ington. The orders to Mr Lewis to purchase beef 
in Carolina were given by the Continental commissary 
so long ago as last winter when it was not foreseen 
there woud be such a call for it in that country. 
Having no other means of conveying a letter to him^, 
I take the liberty of putting one under cover to you 
with instructions to him to discontinue his purchases 
in North Carolina, and to furnish you with so much 
of the beef he has as you may think necessary. It 
woud be expedient for you to leave in his hands 
whatever quantity is not absolutely necessary for 
your army : as, depending on that, no other provision 


has been made for the post at Charlottesville and you 
know our country so well as to foresee that a post at 
which 5000 rations a day are issued cannot be fed by 
the purchase of the day. 

We have reason to believe the French fleet arrived 
at Newport the loth ult but it is not certain. Admiral 
Graves with six sail of the Line is certainly arrived 
at New York. 


Richmond, Sep. 3, 1780. 

Sir, — As I know the anxieties you must have felt, 
since the late misfortune to the South, and our latter 
accounts have not been quite so favorable as the first, 
I take the liberty of inclosing you a state of this un- 
lucky affair extracted from letters from General Gates, 
Genl. Stevens, & Govr. Nash, and taken as to some 
circumstances from an officer who was in the action. 
Another army is collecting : this amounted on the 
23d ult. to between four& five thousand men consist- 
ing of about 500 Maryland regulars, a few of Hamil- 
ton's artillery & Porterfield's corps, Armand's legion, 
such of the fugitive militia as had been reclaimed, 
and about 3000 N. Caroline militia newly embodied. 
We are told they will increase these to 8000. Our 
new recruits will rendezvous in this state between the 
loth & 25th inst. We are calling out 2000 militia 
who I think however will not be got to Hillsborough 
till the 25th of October. About 350 regulars marched 
from Chesterfield a week ago ; 50 march tomorrow 



and there will be 100 or 150 more from that post 
when they can be cleared of the hospital. This is as 
good a view as I can give you of the force we are 
endeavoring to collect. But they are unarmed. 
Almost the whole small arms seem to have been lost 
in the late rout. There are here on their way South- 
ward 3000 stand of arms sent by Congress, and we 
have a few still remaining in our magazine. I have 
written pressingly, as the subject well deserves, to 
Congress, to send us immediate supplies, and to 
think of forming a magazine here that in case of 
another disaster we may not be left without all means 
of opposition.' 

I inclosed to your Excellency some time ago a 
resolution of the assembly instructing us to send a 

' On the same day Jefferson wrote Gates : 

" I am extremely mortified at the misfortune incurred in the South and the 
more so as the Militia of our State concurred so eminently in producing it. 
We have sent from Chesterfield a week ago 350 regulars, 50 more march to- 
morrow, and there will be 100 or 150 still to go thence as fast as they come 
out of the Hospital. Our new recruits begin to rendezvous about the roth 
inst. and may all be expected to be in by the 25. We call on 2000 more 
Militia, who are required to be at Hillsborough by the 25th of Octo. but we 
have not arms to put into the Hands of these men : There are here going on 
to you, 3000 stand from Congress. We have about the same number in our 
Magazine. I trust Congress will aid us. We are desired in general to send 
you all kinds of Military stores, but I wish you would be so good as to send me 
a specification of the articles and quantities you most want, because our means 
of transportation being very limited we may otherwise misemploy even these. 
Powder, flints, cannon, cannon-ball are the only articles I think we can send. 
Lead I hope you will get immediately from the mines which will save a vast 
deal of transportation. Our Treasury is utterly exhausted and cannot again 
be replenished till the assembly meets in October. We might however furnish 
considerable Quantities of Provision were it possible to convey it to you. We 
shall immediately send out an Agent into the Southern Counties to collect and 
forward all he can. Will Militia Volunteer Horse be of any service to you and 
how many ? " 


quantity of tobo. to No. York for the relief of our 
officers there, and asking the favor of you to obtain 
permission. Having received no answer I fear my 
letter or your answer has miscarried. I therefore 
now take the liberty of repeating my application to 


Richmond, Septem. 3rd, 1780. 

Dear Sir, — I sincerely condole with you on our 
late Misfortune, which sits the heavier on my mind as 
being produced by my own Country Men. Instead 
of considering what is past, however, we are to 
look forward and prepare for the future. I write 
Genl. Gates and Governor Nash as to Supplies and 
reinforcements. Another Body of 2000 Militia are 
ordered to you to rendezvous at Hillsborough, on 
the 25th October. They come from the middle and 
North Counties beyond and adjoining the blue 
Ridge. I am told, also, that a Spirit of raising 
Volunteers is springing up. The Truth of this 
however is not Certainly known, nor can its Success 
be depended on. Governor Nash writes me that 
400 Waggons were lost. An officer here however 
thinks they are not. This indeed would be a heavy 
loss, as well as that of the small arms. We shall 
exert every Nerve to assist you in every way in our 
power, being as we are without any Money in ye 
Treasury, or any prospect of more till the Assembly 
meets in Octr. 

334 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 



Richmond, Sep. 3, 1780. 

Sir, — It is not in my power to add any circum- 
stance of consequence to those communicated to you 
by Genl. Gates, & as I suppose to the delegates of N. 
Caroline by Govr. Nash a letter from whom accom- 
panies this, and I take for granted communicates 
the later intelligence which he was so kind as to 
transmit me at the same time. A force is again col- 
lected of between four & five thousand men, consist- 
ing of the remains of the Maryland brigade, of Por- 
terfield's corps of regulars, Armand's legion, such of 
the fuQfitive militia as are a little recovered of their 
fright, and new corps of N. Carolina militia who have 
readily embodied themselves. 300 regulars of this 
state marched from Chesterfield a week ago ; about 
50 march to-morrow, and there may be 100, or 150 
more to go from the same post as soon as they 
get out of the hospital. Our 3000 new recruits will 
begin to rendezvous about the loth inst. and may all 
be expected to be rendezvoused by the 25th. We 
have determined to call out also 2000 militia who 
however cannot be got to Hillsborough sooner than 
the 25th of October. This is as exact a state of the 
force we expect to oppose to the enemy as I am able 
to give. Almost the w^hole of the small arms having 
been unfortunately lost in the late defeat, the men 
proposed for the field will be unarmed, unless it is in 
your power to furnish arms. Indeed not only a suffi- 
cient number is wanting to arm the men now raising. 


but, as our stores will be exhausted in effecting that 
as far as they will go towards it, it seems indispensa- 
ble that Congress should form a plentiful magazine 
of small arms, & other military stores that we may 
not be left an unarmed prey to the enemy, should 
our Southern misfortunes be not yet ended. Should 
any disaster, like the late one, befal that army which 
is now collecting, and which will be so much weaker 
in regulars as that brave corps is lessened in the un- 
equal conflict which was put upon them, the conse- 
quences will be really tremendous if we be found 
without arms. With a sufficiency of these, there can 
be no danger in the end. The losses of our brethren 
in the mean time may be great, the distresses of in- 
dividuals in the neighborhood of the war will be 
cruel, but there can be no doubt of an ultimate recov- 
ery of the country. The scene of military operations 
has been hitherto so distant from these states, that 
their militia are strangers to the actual presence of 
danger. Habit alone will enable them to view this 
with familiarity, to face it without dismay ; a habit 
which must be purchased })y calamity, but cannot 
be purchased too dear. In the acquisition of this, 
other misfortunes may yet be to be incurred, for 
which we should be prepared. I am earnestly there- 
fore to sollicit Congress for plentiful supplies of small 
arms, powder, flints, cartridge boxes, & paper ; and 
to pray that no moment may be lost in forwarding 
them. Not doubting that the importance of this will 
be seen in the extent it deserves, I beg leave to sub- 
scribe myself with every sentiment of respect & esteem. 

33^ THE WRITINGS OF [1780 



Richmond Sep. 6. 1780. 

Sir, — Since the dispatches forwarded three days 
ago I have received others from Genl. Gates which 
he was pleased to leave open for my perusal and 
desired they might then be sent on by the line of 
Expresses. He has therein informed you of the 
articles he has called on us for, and it may be im- 
portant that you should know as well what we can- 
not as what we can do. Of the tents desired we 
cannot procure a single one, because the stuff is not 
in our country and we have not money to procure 
them elsewhere our treasury being entirely exhausted, 
and no possibility of its being replenished until the 
meeting of assembly. The articles of sugar & coffee 
I do not expect to be able to procure. The residue 
of his requisitions I have hopes may be complied 
with. I observe he desires provisions from Maryland 
& I make no doubt they will be necessary. I am 
only at a loss how they are to be transported ; for 
despairing of our being able to transport to the 
Southward any of our provisions collected on the 
North side of James river, I have given orders for 
sending them to the Northward. I am now appre- 
hensive that this may be wrong, and should really be 
glad to be advised by Congress what to have done. 
It will seem inconsistent for our provisions to be 
going Northward while those of Maryland are passing 
to the Southward. 




Richmond Septr. 8. 1780. 

Sir, — On receipt of the resolutions of Congress of 
June 19, for procuring Horses to remount White's and 
Washington's Cavalry, we laid the same before the 
Assembly and were authorized by them to engage 
the State for payment. We thereon sent out powers 
to the different Counties to purchase 160 Horses 
which were properly described in addition to 83, the 
purchase of which we had before authorized. 

That some regard might be paid to oeconomy we at 
first restrained the prices to average not more than 
^2500 — and afterwards/ 3000 exclusive of incidental 
expences. — The purchases have not been so soon 
made as we expected tho' a considerable number have 
been made and the Gentlemen employed are still 
going on. — The inclosed Letter from Colo. White 
complaining of this limitation of price, was not cal- 
culated either in its matter or stile to move us to an 
alteration of our instructions ; conscious that our 
endeavours to reconcile oeconomy and the public 
wants must meet with the approbation of every person 
who attends at all to the dangers impending over us 
from circumscribed finances. Your resolution of 
August 7. which came to hand two or three Days ago 
and which restrain the allowance for Horses in another 
instance, tho to be used in a similar way to 100 Dolls 
hard money equal only to about ;^ 2000 at the present 
exchange have induced a doubt in us whether you 

338 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

may chuse that any future purchases for White's and 
Washington's Cavalry should be made at so high a 
price as we had authorized and has caused me to 
trouble you with a Letter desiring your advice on 
that head. — From the tardy progress made in pur- 
chasing at ;^3000 I must suppose that any consider- 
able reduction would put a stop to them altogether. 
While it shows that our allowance was not extrava- 
gant, the numbers purchased also prove that it was 
not so frugal as to defeat the purpose. 

Your instructions shall be implicitly followed, and 
will I hope be communicated to me. 

P.S. I beg leave to add that measures are taken 
for clothing and furnishing twelve horses to, Major 
Nelson's two troops, which are what is wanting to 
equip them for service. It will be impossible to 
permit Capt. Read's troop to leave the barracks 
without giving up all fugitives from the Convention 


Richmond Sep. 12. 1780. 

Sir, — Your letters of Aug. 27. & 30th. are now 
before me. The subsequent desertions of your 
militia have taken away the necessity of answering 
the question how they shall be armed ? On the con- 
trary as there must now be a surplus of arms I am in 
hopes you will endeavor to reserve them as we have 
not here a sufficient number by 1500, or 2000 for the 
men who will march hence, if they march in numbers 


equal to our expectations. I have sent expresses 
into all the counties from which those militia went 
requiring the County Lieutenants to exert themselves 
in takine them ; & such is the detestation with which 
they have been received that I have heard from many 
counties they were going back of themselves. You 
will of course hold courts martial on them & make 
them souldiers for eight months. If you will be so 
good as to inform me from time to time how many 
you have we may perhaps get the supernumerary 
officers in the state to take command of them. By 
the same opportunities I desired notice to be given 
to the friends of the few remaining with you that 
they had lost their clothes and blankets & recom- 
mended that they should avail themselves of any good 
opportunity to send to them. 

We approve of your accommodating the hospital 
with medicines and the Maryland troops with spirits. 
They really deserve the whole, and I wish we had 
means of transportation for much greater quantities 
which we have on hand & cannot convey. This 
article we could furnish plentifully to you & them. 
What is to be done for waggons I do not know. 
We have not now one shilling in the treasury to 
purchase. We have ordered an active quarter master 
to go to the Westward & endeavor to purchase on 
credit, or to impress a hundred waggons & teams. 
But I really see no prospect of sending you additional 
supplies till the same waggons return from you which 
we sent on with the last. I informed you in my last 
letter we had ordered 2000 militia more to rendezvous 


at Hillsborough on the 25th of Octob. You will 
judge 3'oursclf whether [in the meantime] you can be 
more useful [by] remaining where you are with the 
few militia left & coming in, or by returning home 
where, besides again accommodating yourself [after 
your losses] you may also aid us in getting those men 
into motion, and | in] pointing out such things as are 
within our power and may be useful to the service. 
And you will act accordingly. 



Richmond, Sep. 14. 17S0. 

Sir, — According to Genl. Gates's request I trans- 
mit to your Excellency the inclosed copy of a letter 
I received from him this morning. That the enemy 
should meditate taking possession of Portsmouth in 
the manner they give out does not seem probable, as 
Sr. Henry Clinton under the present appearances 
would scarcely consent to spare men from New York ; 
& that they should think of taking possession of it 
at all seems equally unlikely while it is in the power 
of our allies to send a superior fieet into Chesapeake 
bay to which theirs would fall a certain prey. Never- 
theless should they in this as in so many other in- 
stances, go directly contrary to obvious principles of 
reason, they would find us in a condition incapable of 
resistancefor want of small arms. Our militia have been 
long ago disfurnished of their arms for the use of the 
regulars ; and when we shall have armed the 3000 new 


levies now rendezvousing, we shall not have a single 
musket left in our magazine except a few which have 
been disabled. I must therefore entreat Congress in 
the most earnest manner to send all the aid in small 
arms which can be spared. We are also without a 
tent for the men who are now rendezvousing, nor 
does tent-stuff exist in this country. For this article 
therefore we must also throw ourselves on Congress. 
I have hopes that by this time the navigation of 
Chesapeake is made safe by a joint effort of this & 
the state of Maryland so that any necessaries may be 
transported through that channel & up James river 
to this place. 

Another circumstance should be previously deter- 
mined on supposition that an invasion of this state 
should take place. A spirit of disaffection which had 
never been suspected, has lately discovered itself in 
the counties of Washington, Montgomery, Henry & 
Bedford, and had extended so far as that many hun- 
dreds had actually enlisted to serve his Britannic 
Majesty, had taken oaths of allegiance to him, and 
had concerted the time of insurrection. The last of 
the counties above named is within 60 or 70 miles of 
the Barracks in Albemarle and had always been con- 
sidered as a barrier to any enterprise on them from 
the Southward. Other counties equally relied on 
may fail us in the hour of trial. Should an invasion 
of this state take place and the progress of the 
enemy or other circumstances render a removal of the 
Convention troops necessary, to what place should 
they be removed ? I would beg the instructions of 

342 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

Congress on this head & at this time that we may at 
no future time be at a loss when such a measure shall 
be rendered necessary. 


Richmond Sept 15th 1780 

Sir, — I beg leave to trouble you with a private letter 
on a little matter of my own, having no acquaintance 
at Camp with whom I can take that Liberty. Among 
the Waggons impressed for the use of your Militia 
were two of mine. One of these I know is safe hav- 
ing been on its way from hence to Hillsborough at the 
time of the late Engagement. The other I have 
reason to believe was on the field. A Waggon Mas- 
ter who says he was near her, informs me the Brigade 
quarter Master cut out one of my best Horses, & 
made his Escape on him, and that he saw my Wag- 
goner loosening his own Horse to Come off, but the 
Enemy's Horse were then Coming up & he knows 
nothing further. He was a Negro man named Phill 
lame in one Arm and Legg. If you will do me the 
favor to enquire what is become of him, what Horses 
are saved, and to send them to me, I shall be much 
obliged to you. The Horses &c., were not public 
property, as they were only impressed & not sold. 
Perhaps your Certificate of what is lost may be neces- 
sary for me. The Waggon Master told me that the 
publick money was in my waggon, a Circumstance 
which perhaps may aid your enquiries. 



Richmond Sepr. 23. 1780. 

Sir, — I yesterday forwarded a letter to you from 
Colo. Wood informing you of his situation. That 
Post has for some time past been pretty regularly sup- 
plied, and I hope will continue to be for some time 
to come. A Person whose punctuality can be relied 
on offers to contract for victualling it. If we can agree 
on terms, and the Assembly will strengthen our Hands 
sufficiently, we think to adopt that method, as the 
only one to be relied on with certainty. I have heard 
it hinted that Colo. Wood thinks of quitting that 
Post ; I should be exceedingly sorry indeed were he 
to do it : he has given those under his charge the 
most perfect satisfaction, and at the same time used 
all the cautions which the nature of his charge has re- 
quired. It is principally owing to his prudence and 
good temper that the late difficulties have been passed 
over almost without a murmur. Any influence which 
your Excellency shall think proper to use for retaining 
him in his present situation will promote the public 
Good, and have great tendency to keep up a desira- 
ble harmony with the Officers of that Corps. Our new 
Levies are rendezvousing very generally. Colo. Har- 
rison was uneasy at having none of them assigned 
to his Corps of Artillery, who have very much dis- 
tinguished themselves in the late unfortunate action, 
and are reduced almost to nothing. We happened to 
have about 400 draughts raised in the last Year and 
never called out and sent on duty by their County 
Lieutenants whom we have collected and are collect- 

344 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

ing. We think to deliver these to Colo. Harrison ; 
They are to serve 18 months from the time of rendez- 
vous. The numbers of Reijulars and Militia ordered 
from this State into the Southern service are about 
7000. I trust we may count that 5500 will actually 
proceed ; but we have arms for three thousand only. 
If therefore we do not speedily receive a supply from 
Congress we must countermand a proper number of 
these Troops. Besides this supply there should 
certainly be a magazine laid in here to provide against 
a general loss as well as daily waste. When we de- 
liver out those now in our magazine we shall have 
sent 7000 stand of our own into the Southern Service 
in the course of this Summer : We are still more 
destitute of Clothing, Tents and Waggons for our 
Troops. The Southern Army suffers for Provision 
which we could plentifully supply were it possible to 
find means of transportation : despairing of this we 
directed very considerable quantities collected on the 
navigable waters to be sent Northwardly by the 
Quarter Master; this he is now doing, slowly how- 
ever. Unapprised of what may be proposed by our 
Allies to be done with our Fleet in the course of the 
ensuing Winter, I would beg leave to intimate to you 
that if it should appear eligible to them that it should 
winter in the Chesapeake they may be well supplied 
with Provision, taking their necessary measures in due 
time before hand. The waters communicating with 
that Bay furnish easy (and in that case) safe Trans- 
portation, and their Money will call forth what is 
denied to ours. 


I am with all possible esteem & respect your Ex- 
cellency's most obedt. & most humble servt. 


Richmond September 26. 1780. 

Sir, — The enclosed Copy of a letter from Ld. 
Cornwallis to Colo. Balfour was sent me by Govr. 
Rutledge : lest you should not have seen it I do my- 
self the pleasure of transmitting it, with a letter from 
Genl. Harrington to Genl. Gates giving information 
of some late movements of the Enemy. 

I was honored yesterday with your favor of the 5th 
inst, on the subject of Prisoners and particularly Lt. 
Govr. Hamilton. You are not unapprised of the 
influence of this Officer with the Indians, his activity, 
and embittered Zeal against us ; You also perhaps 
know how precarious is our tenure of the Illinois 
Country, and how critical is the situation of the new 
Counties on the Ohio. These circumstances deter- 
mined us to detain Govr. Hamilton & Majr Hay 
within our Power, when we delivered up the other 
Prisoners. On a late representation from the People 
of Kentuckey by a person sent here from that County, 
& expressions of what they had reason to apprehend 
from these two Prisoners in the event of their libera- 
tion ; we assured them they would not be parted with, 
the we were giving up our other Prisoners. Lt. Colo 
Dubuysson aid to Baron de Kalb lately came here on 
his parole with an offer from Ld Rawdon to exchange 
him for Hamilton. Colo Towlcs is now here with a 

346 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

like proposition as to himself from Genl. Phillips, 
very strongly urged by the Genl. These and other 
overtures do not lessen our opinion of the importance 
of retaining him ; and they have been and will uni- 
formly be rejected. Should the settlement indeed of 
a Cartel become impracticable without the consent of 
the States to submit their seperate Prisoners to its 
obligation, we will give up these two Prisoners, as we 
would anything rather than be an obstacle to a gen- 
eral good ; But no other circumstances would I be- 
lieve extract them from us. These two gentlemen 
with a Lt Colo Elligood are the only seperate 
Prisoners we have retained, & the last only on his own 
request, & not because we set any store by him. 
There is indeed a Lt Governor Rocheblawe of Kas- 
kaskie who has broken his parole & gone to N. 
York, whom we must shortly trouble your Excellency 
to demand for us as soon as we can forward to you 
the proper documents. Since the forty Prisoners 
sent to Winchester as mentioned in my letter of the 
9th ult. about 150 more have been sent thither, some 
of them taken by us at sea, others sent on by Genl 

The exposed and weak state of our western settle- 
ments and the danger to which they are subject from 
the Northern Indians acting under the influence of 
the British Post at Detroit, render it necessary for us 
to keep from five to eight hundred men on duty for 
their defence. This is a great and perpetual expense : 
Could that post be reduced and retained it would 
cover all the States to the South-East of it. We 


have long meditated the attempt under the direction 
of Colo Clarke, but the expense would be so great 
that whenever we have wished to take it up the cir- 
cumstance has obliged us to decline it ; two different 
estimates make it amount to two Millions of Pounds, 
present Money. We could furnish the Men, pro- 
visions and I believe every necessary except Powder ; 
had we the Money, or could the demands from us 
be so far supplied from other quarters as to leave it 
in our Power to apply such a Sum to that purpose 
and when once done it would save annual expendi- 
tures to a great amount. When I speak of furnishing 
the men, I mean they should be Militia : such being 
the popularity of Colo Clarke & the confidence of 
the western people in him that he could raise the requi- 
site number at any time. We therefore beg leave 
to refer this matter to yourself to determine whether 
such an enterprise would not be for the general good, 
& if you think it would, to authorize it at the general 
expense ; this is become the more reasonable if as I 
am informed the ratification of the Confederation has 
been rested on our cession of a part of our western 
Claims a cession which (speaking my private opinion 
only) I verily believe will be agreed to if the Quantity 
demanded be not unreasonably great. Should this 
proposition be approved it should be immediately 
made known to us as the season is now cominof on 
at which some of the preparations must be made. 
The time of execution I think should be at the break- 
ing up of the Ice in the Wabash & before the Lakes 
open. The interval I am told is considerable. 

348 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 



Richmond Oct. 14. 1780. 

Sir, — At the desire of Majr. Genl. Gates I trans- 
mit to you the inclosed papers which he put under 
cover to me. He complains of the arrival of our 
troops without clothes, tents, or arms at Hilsborough : 
and desires they may not be sent on at all unless com- 
pletely equipped with every necessary. This would 
indeed put an end to the marching a single man 
there. They go clothed as militia. Few of them 
carry blankets. Nor shall we be able to furnish 
tents or arms for more than half of them. However 
they will go on in hopes of supplies from Congress. 


Richmond Oct 15. 1780. 

Sir, — I am rendered not a little anxious by the 
Paragraph of yours of the 7th Inst., wherein you say 
'* it is near a month since I received any Letter from 
your Excellency ; indeed the receipt of most that I 
have wrote to you remain unacknowledged." You 
ought within that time to have received my Letter of 
September 3d. written immediately on my return to 
this place after a fortnights Absence. — That of Sep- 
tember nth acknowledging the receipt of yours which 
covered Draughts for Money ; that of Sept. 23d on 
the Subject of Batteaux at Taylor's Ferry, Waggons, 
i^.Iaps of Virginia, wintering the French Fleet in 


Chesapeake, our new levies, and Provisions from our 
lower Counties — and that of [Oct. 4] in Answer to 
yours of Sept 24th. and 27th. I begin to apprehend 
Treachery in some part of our Chain of Expresses, 
and beg the favor of you in your next to mention 
whether any and which of these Letters have not 
come to hand. 

This acknowledges the receipt of yours of Sept. 28. 
and Oct. 3, 5, and 7th. The first of these was deliv- 
ered four or five days ago by Capt. Drew. He will 
be permitted to return as you desire, as we would 
fulfil your wishes in every point in our power, as well 
as indulge the Ardor of a good Officer. Our militia 
from the Western Counties are now on their march to 
join you. They are fond of the kind of Service in 
vv^hich Colo Morgan is generally engaged, and are 
made very happy by being informed you intend to 
put them under him. Such as pass by this place take 
Muskets in their hands. Those from the Southern 
Counties beyond the Blue Ridge were advised to 
carry their Rifles. For those who carry neither Rifles 
nor Muskets, as well as for our 18 months' Men we 
shall send on Arms as soon as Waggons can be pro- 
cured. In the meantime I had hoped that there were 
Arms for those who should first arrive at Hillsbor- 
ough, as by Genl. Stevens Return dated at his de- 
parture thence there were somewhere between 5 and 
800 muskets (I speak from memory not having present 
Access to the Return) belonging to this State either 
in the hands of the new Militia who were there or 
stored. Capt Fauntleroy of the Cavalry, gives me 



hopes he shall immediately forward a very considera- 
ble Supply of Accoutrements for White's and Wash- 
ington's cavalry. He told me yesterday he had re- 
ceived 113 Horses for that Service from us. Besides 
those, he had rejected sixty odd after we had pur- 
chased them, at ;^3000 apiece. Nelson's two troops 
were returned to me deficient only 12 Horses, since 
which 10 have [been] sent to him by Lt Armstead. 
I am not a little disappointed therefore in the Num- 
ber of Cavalry fit for Duty as mentioned in the Letter 
you enclosed me. Your request (as stated in your 
letter of the 7th) that we will send no men into the 
field, or even to your camp, that are not well furnished 
with Shoes, Blankets, and every necessary for imme- 
diate service, would amount to a stoppage of every 
man ; as we have it not in our power to furnish them 
with real necessaries completely. I hope they will be 
all shod. What proportion will have Blankets I can- 
not say : we purchase every one which can be found 
out, and now I begin to have a prospect of furnishing 
about half of them with Tents as soon as they can be 
made, and forwarded. As to provisions, our Agent 
Eaton, of whom I before wrote, informs me in a Let- 
ter of the 5th inst he shall immediately get Supplies 
of Beef into motion and shall send some corn by a 
circuitous Navigation. But till we receive our W^ag- 
gons from the Western Country, I cannot hope to aid 
you in Bread. I expect daily to see Waggons coming 
in to us. The Militia were ordered to rendezvous at 
Hillsborough, expecting they would thence be ordered 
by you into service. I send you herewith a copy of 


Henry's map of Virginia. It is a mere cento of blun- 
ders. It may serve to give you a general idea of the 
courses of rivers & positions of counties. We are 
endeavoring to get you a copy of Fry & Jefferson's ; 
but they are now very scarce. I also enclose you 
some newspapers in which you will find a detail of 
Arnold's apostasy & villany. * * * 



In Council Oct. 22d. 1780. 

Sir, — The inclosed letters which came to hand this 
morning will inform your Excellency that a Fleet of 
the Enemy has arrived in our Bay ; and that a De- 
barkation of some light Horse in the Neighbourhood 
of Portsmouth seems to indicate that as their first 
Scene of Action. We are endeavouring to collect a 
Body to oppose them as numerous as the Arms we 
have will admit. We are obliged of Consequence to 
divert to this New Object a considerable Part of the 
Aids we destined for Genl. Gates. We shall not 
however by any means consider his reinforcement as 
no longer interesting, but clearly see the Necessity of 
supporting him with our utmost abilities. We have 
therefore left part of our country which is more 
convenient to him uncalled on at present, which with 
the Proportion of Regulars, Volunteers, and Militia 

' A letter to Washington, of the same date, is largely a repetition of this. It 
is printed in Washington's edition, 1, 265. 

352 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

already with him, or not meant to be diverted will I 
hope be a seasonable aid. The want of Arms pre- 
vents every hope of effectual Opposition. I have 
perfect Confidence in Congress that this want will be 
suffered to fetter us not a moment after they can 
supply it. Generals Weedon and Muhlenburgof the 
line, and Nelson and Stevens of the Militia are called 
into Command. Congress will please to consider 
whether these can be aided by any other Officer of 
higher Rank and of approved Abilities and Trust. 
We have come to no determination on the subject of 
the Convention Troops. Should the Enemy be in 
force, every circumstance will render their Removal 
essential. This shall in that case be done as directed 
by Congress and due notice given to them as well as 
to Governor Lee. 


In Council Oct. 22d. 1780. 

Sir, — The Letters which accompany this will in- 
form you of the Arrival of a large fleet of the Enemy 
within our Capes, and that they have begun their 
Debarkation. We are taking measures to collect a 
Body to oppose them, for which purpose it seems 
necessary to retain such Regulars, Volunteers and 
Militia as have not yet gone on to you. We have 
left the Counties of Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Hali- 
fax, and all above them on the south Side of James 
River uncalled on, that they may be in readiness to 
reinforce you as soon as Arms can be procured. I 
am in hopes the 18 months' Men and western Militia, 


who will have joined you with the Volunteers from 
Washington and Montgomery, as proposed by Colo. 
Preston, and the 18 months Militia, will be a useful 
reinforcement to you, and shall continue to divide 
our attention both as to Men and Provisions between 
the Army in your Front and that which is posting 
itself within our own Country. * * * 



Richmond Octr. 25. 1780. 

Sir, — I do myself the pleasure of handing on the 
the dispatches from General Gates accompanying this. 

Since my last informing of you of the appearance 
of an enemy's fleet they have landed 800 men in the 
neiofhbourhood of Portsmouth and some more on 
the bay side of Princess Anne County. On the 23d. 
in the morning they landed 1000 infantry and 100 
cavalry at Newport's News who immediately took 
possession of Hampton. The horse were proceeding 
up the road at the time of our last intelligence. The 
residue of their force remains still on board. The 
unarmed state of the people leaves it not in our 
power to say precisely when one hundred horse will 
be stopped. The few who have arms have turned out 
with the greatest alacrity, but they are not of a nature 
proper to oppose horse. Such a corps as Major Lee's 
would now be of infinite value to us. Our cartridge 
paper has been nearly exhausted by the Southern 
army, and 2000 Cartouch boxes which we had bought 

354 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

in Baltimore we have reason to believe were on their 
way down the bay when the enemy came in and have 
probably fallen into their hands. The want even of 
these small articles will be of great disadvantage. The 
spirit which has shown itself among the people on this 
occasion has given me the greatest pleasure, but I 
must notwithstanding assure you Sir that if great 
supplies of arms are not immediately sent on there is 
no event which may not be expected. 


Richmond October 25. 1780. 

Sir, — I take the liberty of inclosing to you Letters 
from Gov. Hamilton for New York. On some rep- 
resentations received by Colo Towles that an indul- 
gence to Governor Hamilton and his companions to 
go to New York on parole would produce the happiest 
effect on the situation of our officers in Long Island 
we have given him, Majr Hay & some of the same 
Party at Winchester leave to go there on Parole : 
The two former go by water, the latter by Land. 

By this express I hand on from Genl Gates to Con- 
gress intelligence of the capture of Augusta in Georgia 
with considerable quantities of goods ; and informa- 
tion which carries a fair appearance of the taking of 
George Town in So Carolina by a party of ours, and 
that an army of 6000 French or Spaniards had landed 
at Sunbury. This is the more credited as Cornwallis 
retreated from Charlotte on the 1 2th inst with great 
marks of precipitation. * * * 




Richmond Oct. 26th 1780. 

Sir, — The Executive of this State think it expedi- 
ent and necessary that under our present circum- 
stances the prisoners of war under the convention of 
Saratoga, be removed from their present situation. 
Many circumstances have led to this necessity. It 
will be utterly impracticable as long as they remain with 
us to prevent the hostile army now in this state from 
being reinforced by numerous desertions from this 
corps and this expectation may be one among the 
probable causes of this movement of the enemy. 
Should moreover a rescue of them be attempted the 
extensive disaffection which has been lately dis- 
covered, and almost total want of arms in the hands 
of our good people render the success of such an 
enterprize by no means desperate. The fear of this 
and of other dangerous convulsions to which such 
an attempt would expose us, diverts the attention of 
a very considerable part of our militia from an opposi- 
tion to the invading enemy. An order has therefore 
been this day issued to Colo Wood to take immediate 
measures for their removal, and every aid has been 
and will be given him for transporting, guarding and 
subsisting them on the road which our powers can 
accomplish. Notice hereof is sent by the present con- 
veyance to his Excellency Govr. Lee, on whose part 
I doubt not necessary preparations for their reception 
w ill be made. 

' A letter to Washington, of the same date and tenor, is printed in Washing- 
ton's edition, i, 268. 

356 THE WRITINGS OF [178c 


c. c\ 

Richmond Octo. 27. 1780. 

Gentlemen, — I must beg the favor of you to 
solicit the sending on to us immediately a good sup- 
ply of Cartridge Paper & Cartouch Boxes. Nearly 
the whole of the former article which we had bouorht 
at Alexandria, Baltimore &c. and what the Board of 
War sent from Philadelphia has been made up and 
forwarded to the Southern Army : there remains 
now but a few Reams to make up. I fear we have 
lost 2,000 cartouch Boxes on the Bay which we had 
made at Baltimore. Our distress for these is also 
very great. Muskets being really useless without them, 
I must entreat the greatest dispatch in forwarding 
these Articles. 

A very dangerous Insurrection in Pittsylvania was 
prevented a few days ago by being discovered three 
days before it was to take place. The Ringleaders 
were seized in their Beds. — This dangerous fire is 
only smothered : When it will break out seems to 
depend altogether on events. It extends from 
Montgomery County along our southern boundary 
to Pittsylvania & Eastward as far as James River : 
Indeed some suspicions have been raised of its hav- 
ing crept as far as Culpepper. The rest of the state 
turns out with a spirit and alacrity which makes me 
perfectly happy. If they had arms there is no effort 
either of public or private Enemies in this state which 
would give any apprehensions. Our whole arms are 
or will be in the hands of the force now assembling. 


Were any disaster to befall these, we have no other 
resource but a few scattered Squirrel Guns, Rifles 
&c. in the Hands of the western People. 


Richmond October 28. 1780. 

Sir, — * * * Since my first information to you of 
the arrival of an enemy, they have landed about 800 
men near Portsmouth, some on the bay side of Prin- 
cess Anne one thousand at [Hampton], and still re- 
tained considerable part on board their ships. Those 
at hampton, after committing horrid depredations have 
again retired to their ships, which, on the evening of 
the 26th were strung all along the road from New- 
portsnews to the mouth of Nansemond, which seems 
to indicate an intention of coming up the James river. 
Our information is that they have from 4 to 5000 
men, commanded by Genl Leslie, & came under 
convoy of one 40.gun ship and some frigates (how 
many has never been said) commanded by Commo- 
dore Rodney. Would it not be worth while to send 
out a swift boat from some of the inlets of Carolina 
to notify the french Admiral that his enemies are in 
a net if he has leisure to close the mouth of it ? Gen- 
erals Muhlenburg and Nelson are assembling a force 
to be ready for them, and General Weedon is come 
to this place where he is at present employed in some 
arrangements. We have ordered the removal of the 
Saratoga prisoners that we may have our hands clear 
for these new Guests. 

358 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 



Richmond November 3rd. 1780. 

Sir, — Since I had the honour of writing to your 
Excellency on the 25th ult. the enemy have with- 
drawn their force from the north side of James river, 
and have taken post at Portsmouth-; which we learn 
they are fortifying ; their highest post is Suffolk, 
where there is a very narrow and defensible pass be- 
tween Nansemond river & the dismal swamp, which 
covers the country below from being entered by us. 
More accurate information of their force than we at 
first had, gives us reason to suppose them to be from 
2500 to 3000 of which between 60 and 70 are 
cavalry. They are commanded by General Leslie 
and were convoyed by the Romulus of 40 guns, the 
Blonde of 32, the Delight sloop of 16, a 20 gun ship 
of Inc. Goodrichs and two row gallies : commanded 
by Commodore Gayton. We are not yet as assured 
that they have landed their whole force, indeed they 
give out themselves that after drawing the force of 
this state to Suffolk, they mean to go to Baltimore. 
Their movements here had induced me to think they 
came in expectation of meeting with Lord Corn- 
wallis in this country, that his pricipitate retreat has 
left them without a concerted object, and that they 
were waiting further orders. Information of this 
morning says that on being informed of Lord Corn- 

' A letter to Washington, of the same date and tenor, is printed in Washing- 
ton's edition, I, 270 ; and the first paragraph, with slight changes, forms a letter 
to Gates, dated Nov. 4th. 


walHs's retreat, and a public paper produced to them 
wherein were printed the several dispatches which 
brought this intelligence from General Gates, they 
unladed a vessel and sent her off to Charles Town 
immediately. The fate of this army of theirs hangs 
on a very slender naval force indeed. 

The want of Barracks at Fort Frederic, as repre- 
sented by Colo Wood, the difficulty of getting wag- 
gons sufficient to move the whole convention troops 
at once, and the state of unreadiness in which the 
regiment of guards is have induced us to think that 
it will be better to remove those troops in two divi- 
sions : and as the whole danger of desertion to the 
enemy and of correspondence with the disaffected in 
our Southern Counties, is from the British only (for 
from the Germans we have no apprehensions on 
either head) we have advised Colo Wood to move 
on the British in the first division and to leave the 
Germans in their present situation to form a second 
division, and to be moved so soon as barracks may 
be erected at Fort Frederic. By these means the 
British may march immediately under the guard of 
Colo Crockets battalion, while Colo Taylor's regi- 
ment of guards remain with the Germans. I cannot 
suppose that this will be deemed such a separa- 
tion as is provided against by the Convention, nor 
that their officers will wish to have the whole troops 
crowded together into barracks, which probably are 
not sufficient for half of them. Should they how- 
ever insist on their being kept together, I suppose it 
would be the opinion that the second division should 

36o THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

follow the first as closely as possible, and their being 
exposed to a want of covering would in that case be 
justly imputable to themselves only. The delay of 
the second division will lessen the distress for pro- 
visions which may perhaps take place on their first 
going to the new post before matters have got into a 
regular train. 

P. S. By a letter from Colo. Wood received since 
writing the above, I am informed the British Conven- 
tioners are 804 rank & file. He does not mention 
the present number of the Germans. In May last 
they were 1503 including officers. 


Richmond November loth. 1780. 

Sir, — Your favour of the third instant inclosing 
Colo. Preston's letter came to hand on the eighth. 
The proposals mentioned in the colo's Letter for 
sending volunteers to you were accepted & put as 
was necessary into such precise form as that all par- 
ties might know w^hat they had a right to expect. 
In doing this two circumstances happened to inter- 
fere with what had been expected, i. We required 
that they shou'd be subject to your orders and those 
of such other officer as you shoud place them under : 
this w^as to enable you to make use of them in con- 
stituting the corps you had proposed under General 
Morgan. 2. That there shoud be two companies of 
rifles only to each battalion : this was the advice of 


Genl. Morgan in a conversation with me. We have 
since dispensed with the last of these conditions and 
allowed every man to carry his rifle as we found that 
absolutely necessary to induce them to go. Colo 
Skiller of Botetourt writes me he has 150 engaged & 
we shall endeavour to prevail upon Colo Campbell 
to raise another corps, in which, if he undertakes it, 
i trust he will succeed. I am much at a loss what 
shoud be done as to the prisoners taken at Kings 
Mountain. I do not think Montgomery Courthouse 
a good place, because it is very disaffected, it is too 
near their own country, and would admit their co- 
operation in any enterprize on our lead mines, which 
are about eight miles from thence. I have taken 
measures for continuing their march under a guard 
northwardly and in the meantime for receiving in- 
structions from Congress where to terminate their 
journey. The British Convention troops will pro- 
ceed immediately to Fort Frederick in Maryland. 
The Germans will remain in Albemarle till accom- 
modations can be provided for them in the same 
place. From them we have no apprehensions of 
desertion to the enemy. Some British were taken 
yesterday who are said to have been with the enemy 
and were returning to the barracks. Two or three 
days ago a british emissary from Portsmouth, was 
taken endeavouring to proceed towards Carolina. 
On a proposal to search him they observed him to 
put his hand in his pocket, and put something to his 
mouth like a quid of tobacco. On examination it 
was found to be a letter, of which the enclosed is a 

362 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

copy, written on silk paper, rolled up in gold beaters 
skin, and nicely tied at each end, the whole not 
larger than a goose quill. By this you will find our 
conjectures verified that they expected to meet with 
Lord Cornwallis in the neighbourhood at least of 
this country, & are disappointed and without an ob- 
ject. Can you not take measures for finding out the 
other messenger to Lord Cornwallis who went by 
Land ? The force we shall now immediately have 
together authorizes me to assure you, you need not 
apprehend their penetrating any distance south- 
wardly. I only lament that this measure shou'd have 
intercepted our reinforcements to you. We have 
left all the counties south of James river, and nearer 
to Hillsborough than portsmouth uncalled on that 
they may be ready to go to the aid of our southern 
friends whenever arms can be procured. 



Richmond November 10. 1780. 

Sir, — I inclose your Excellency an intercepted 
Letter from Major General Leslie to Ld. Cornwallis. 
It was taken on a person endeavouring to pass through 
the Country from Portsmouth towards Carolina. 
When he was apprehended & a proposal made to 
search him, he readily consented to be searched but 
at the same time was observed to put his hand in his 

' A letter to Washington, of the same date and tenor, is in Washington's 
edition, i, 271. 


Pocket & carry something towards his mouth as 
if it were a quid of tobacco. It was examined & 
found to be what is now inclosed. As this is the first 
authentic disclosure of their purpose in coming here 
and may serve to found with somewhat more of cer- 
tainty conjectures of their future movements while 
their disappointment in not meeting with Ld. Corn- 
wallis may occasion new plans at New York, I thought 
it worthy of being communicated to your Excy. by 

Some deserters were yesterday taken, said to be of 
the British Convention troops who had found means 
to get to the enemy at Portsmouth & were 70 or 80 
miles on their way back to the barracks when they 
were taken. They were passing under the guise 
of deserters from Portsmouth. 


RiCHMD. Novr. i7tli 1780. 

Gentn, — With respect to the payment made on 
behalf of Mr. Braxton into the Continental treasury 
in Part of our Quota of the fifteen Million tax, the 
Execcutive having been Charged with the raising and 
remitting that money, we have thought it unneces- 
sary to lay it before the Legislature. The sum 
to be sent, was sent, partly in Money, and Partly 
in Bills. These Bills were drawn in Continental 
Dollars, & paible in such, and not in specie. Of 
this nature was Mr. Braxton's Bill desiring his cor- 
respondent to pay so many Continental Dollars into 

364 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

the Treasury. If the treasurer has received payment 
in another kind of money at an arbitrary rate of 
Exchange, this must have been either under the 
Rules of his office or against them. The former I 
can hardly suppose, and in the latter case it has 
become his own Private act, and he should be deemed 
to have received (not ;!^i3i8-i5. hard money but) 
263750 dollars Continental Money as he has I sup- 
pose given a discharge on Bill for so much of its 
Contents. Had he rejected the Tender of the Hard 
Money would not Continental dollars have been 
paid? If they had not, then indeed the demand 
should have reverted on the State, and we would 
have fallen on means for compelling payment. We 
were really concerned on the return of our agent who 
carried the Money and Bills that he did not have 
them regularly protested as there appeared some 
doubts on them. But he acted for the best in his 
own Judgment, and in that point of view was to be 
approved. I am exceedingly sorry that this want of 
Punctuality has a risen in these remittances. We 
sold Tobo. for these Bills, which would in much 
less time have produced us money here. But the 
responsibility and known connection between the 
drawer & drawee induced us to consider them as even 
Better than money which wd. have been liable to 
accidents in transportation. Had a tender of specie 
been made to us here we would certainly have re- 
jected it. But the payment being now to be trans- 
acted between the Drawee & Congress (passing us 
over) neither the Tender or receipt can be considered 


as our act, but the former the act of the Drawee, and 
the latter of the treasurer of Congress. We do not 
therefore think ourselves concerned immediately in 
this transaction. If Congress please to consider the 
Payment of the ^1318-15 hard money as a discharge 
of 263.750 dollars paper which was to be paid by the 
drawee well : if not on rejecting it he will make pay- 
ment in the specific Money he was call'd on to pay 
or we will resort to the Drawer, and Compell such 

Since writing thus far I note more particularly than 
I had before done that the treasurers return sais that 
he had received from the Conwionwealth of Virginia a 
sum of money in specie &c. this indeed stating it as 
the act of this Commonwealth renders it necessary 
for me to disavow it — which I hereby do. It was the 
act of the drawee of which the Commonwealth had 
neither knowledge or Intimation ; and this return 
fixing the act on the Commonwealth instead of the 
Drawee is so far wrong. 


(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A. 

In Council November 17th 1780. 

Sir, — At the request of the Honorable Theoderick Bland I 
take the liberty of laying before the General Assembly the in- 
closed paper in which he states a difficulty which has arisen in 
reconciling his qualifications as a delegate to the peculiar chan- 
nel into which he had previously turned his private fortune. 

From the inclosed extract from a Letter from our Delegates in 
Congress you will also perceive that they suffer some inconven- 

366 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

ience from precarious remittances. Tho this be not within the 
line of our immediate care we have never been wanting in 
furnishing such facilities as we were able towards effecting 
remittances to them. But these we believe have been rendered 
irregular sometimes by the want of conveyance, & sometimes 
by the state of the treasury. 


(samuel huntington.) c. c. 

Richmond Nov 19. 1780. 

Sir, — The vessel which had been sent by Genl. 
Leslie to Charles town as we supposed, returned 
about the 12th inst. The enemy began to embark 
soon after from Portsmouth, and in the night of the 
15th. compleated the embarkation of their whole 
force. In the morning of the i6th. some of our people 
entered Portsmouth. They had left their works un- 
finished and undestroyed. Great numbers of negroes 
who had crone over to them were left either for want 
of ship-room, or through choice. They had not moved 
from Elizabeth river at eleven o'clock a.m. of the 
1 6th. They gave out that they intended up James 
river, but the precipitate abandoning of works on 
receipt of some communication or other from Charles 
town, was not likely to be for the purpose of coming 
up James river. I received this intelligence by 
express from Genl. Muhlenberg yesterday morning. 
As the enemy's situation was such as to give reason 
to expect every moment a movement in some direc- 
tion, I delayed sending off notice to you in hopes 
that that movement would point out their destina- 


tion : but no such information being yet come to 
hand I think it proper no longer to delay communi- 
cating to you so much. As our riders will be two 
days going their distance and returning to their post, 
it will necessarily be so long before anything further 
can be communicated. 

By a letter from Govr. Nash dated Newbern 
Nov. 5. I am informed that on the 28th. ult. a Capt 
Howell of that place in a small privateer passed in 
the night off Charles town a very large fleet, but of 
what nation he knew not. In a vessel he took the 
same day directly out of Charles town were South 
Carolina gazettes which mentioned this fleet, & 
that they had for several days been off firing signal 
guns. A gentleman on board her said Ld. Corn- 
wallis returned to town that day. This is the only 
intellieence I have received from the Southward 
since that of Fereuson's defeat which I had the 
honor of forwarding to your Excellency. 

Since writing- so far I have received the inclosed 
dispatches from the Southward. The moment the 
enemy leave us I hope a good reinforcement may 
march from their present encampment to the South- 


Richmond Nov 19. 1780. 

Sir, — ■^t * *:• Since writing so far your favor of the 
8th inst comes to hand, accompanied by one from 
Genl Stevens at Hillsborough of the loth. A strange 

368 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

derangement indeed our riders have got into to be 
9 days coming from Hillsborough. I shall be very 
happy if the departure of the enemy, which I hourly 
expect to have confirmed, shall leave us at liberty to 
send you a substantial reinforcement. The men 
being now in the field may be marched directly 
Southwardly. What may be it's precise amount I 
cannot say till I get from Genl Muhlenburg a return 
of the 18 months' men the 8 months men & militia, 
who had been stopped here on their way to the 
Southward, and from Genl Lawson a return of the 
volunteers he has engaged to go to the Southward. 


(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A. 

[Nov. 23. 1780.] 
Sir, — There is reason to believe that the appointment of a 
Consul to reside in this State on the part of his most Christian 
majesty either has been already or will shortly be made. I must 
submit to the general assembly the expediency of considering 
whether our laws have settled with precision the prerogatives and 
jurisdiction to which such a person is entitled by the usage of 
Nations : and putting the Office on the footing they wou'd wish 
it to rest. — The enclosed memorial from a subject of the same 
prince is also perhaps worthy the attention of the assembly. The 
expediting judiciary proceedings wherein foreigners are con- 
cerned, who come to make only a short stay among us, seems 
expedient for the preservation of a good understanding with 
them and for the encouragement of Commerce. The Executive 
received from Congress some time ago copies of the several pro- 
ceedings which had taken place between a subject of the Crown 
of Portugal and the Commander of an American privateer ; a 
part owner of the privateer being a Citizen of this State. They 


were accompanied by some resolutions of Congress desiring that 
the executive would so far interpose as to have reparation made 
to the foreigner whose vessel had been taken, pyratically as they 
suppose, and to have the Offenders proceeded against criminally. 
The case with all the documents transmitted was submitted to 
the Attorney General for his opinion which he has lately given 
us, and I now inclose it. From that you will perceive that if 
the act complained of were piracy or should any future act of 
piracy be committed by any of our Citizens there is no judica- 
ture within this state before which it could be tried. Whether 
the establishment of such a judicature may not be necessary for 
the preservation of peace with foreign nations is now submitted 
to the legislature. 


(benjamin HARRISON.) 

Nov. 24th, 1780. 
Sir, — I received yesterday evening a letter from General Nel- 
son dated Rich neck November 22nd. at half after five p. M. 
including a note by which we learn that the vessels of the enemy 
were all under way except one which was getting under way, and 
the whole standing out for the Capes. This event tho' relieving 
us in a certain degree by opening again the door of our com- 
merce and also by putting it in our power to avail ourselves of 
the whole resources of our country, seems yet to call for an 
increase rather than abatement of military preparations. Should 
those now leaving us proceed to enforce the hostile army already 
in the south ; shou'd the same be the object of a new embarcation 
said on good authority to be preparing in New York ; we shall 
but to probably and speedily see our own retreating enemy tread- 
ing back their footsteps and menacing this country with a force 
to which the southern states have yet seen nothing equal. South 
Carolina & Georgia we are to consider as weighing nothing in 
our scale. N. Carolina has been exhausted by the ravages of two 

' From the original in the possession of Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, of New- 

370 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

armies. On this state therefore rests the weight of the oppo- 
sition, and it is infinitely important that our own efforts be such 
as to keep the war from our own country, nor does it seem that 
we have a moment to lose should the enemy be disposed to lose 
no time on their part. Men to form a permanent army, clothing, 
covering, arms, subsistance, transportation and money are to be 
provided. We have left no measures unessayed for procuring 
supplies of these different kinds as far as the circumstances of 
our country would admit. Of tents we have a tolerable prospect, 
and better hopes of supplies of arms than we some time ago 
entertained. We shall press them forward with unremitting 
endeavors. Our country affords sufficient substance and we are 
in train of obtaining it so far as the late powers given by the 
Legislation extend, and the advanced season of the year permits. 
But these went to one or two articles only. Clothing, blankets, 
and transportation are objects of immense difficulty, and money 
is necessary to set every wheel in action. 

I thought it my duty as soon as the motives of the enemy indi- 
cated the point to which our efforts would probably be called to 
suggest to the general assembly these several matters, not doubt- 
ing but that they will give them all the attention they deserve 
and adopt such measures as in their wisdom shall appear best 
calculated for making effective opposition wherever the enemy 
may think proper to shew themselves. The inclosed papers on 
the same subject from Major Genl. Green appointed to take 
command of the southern army, I beg leave to lay before the 
General Assembly, and am with every sentiment of esteem and 
respect, sir, your most obedient and humble servant. 


Richmond November 26th, 1780. 

Sir, — I have been honoured with your Excellency's 
Letter of the 8th instant. Having found it impracti- 
cable to move suddenly the whole Convention troops, 


british and germans, and it being represented that 
there coud not immediately be covering provided 
for them all at fort Frederic we concluded to march 
off" the British first from whom was the principal 
danger of desertion and to permit the germans who 
shew little disposition to join the enemy to remain in 
their present quarters till something further be done. 
The British accordingly marched the 20th instant, 
they cross the blue ridge at Rock fish gap and pro- 
ceed along that valley. I am to appraise your Ex- 
cellency that the Officers of every rank both British 
and german but particularly the former have pur- 
chased within this State some of the finest horses in 
it. You will be pleased to determine whether it will 
be proper that they carry them within their Lines. I 
believe the Convention of Saratoga entitles them to 
keep the horses they then had : but I presume none of 
the Line below the rank of field officers had a horse. 
Considering that the british will be now at fort fred- 
erick, and the Germans in Albemarle, Alexandria 
seems to be the most central point to which there is 
navigation. Would it not therefore be better that 
the flag vessel solicited by Genl Phillips should go to 
that place ? It is about equally distant from the two 
posts. The roads to Albemarle are good. I know 
not how those are which lead to fort frederick. 
Your letter referring me to General Green for the 
mode of constructing light portable boats unfortu- 
nately did not come to hand till he had left us. We 
had before determined to have something done in 
that way, and as they are still unexecuted, we shoud 

372 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

be greatly obliged by any draughts or hints which 
could be given by any body within the reach of your 

I received advice that on the 2 2d instant, the 
enemy's fleet got all under way and were standing- 
towards the Capes. As it still remained undecided 
whether they woud leave the bay or turn up it, I 
waited the next stage of information that you might 
so far be enabled to judge of their destination. 
This I hourly expected, but it did not come till this 
evening when I am informed they all got out to sea 
in the night of the 2 2d. What course they steered 
afterwards is not known. I must do their General 
and Commodore the justice to say that in every case 
to which their influence or attention could reach as 
far as I have been well informed, their conduct was 
such as does them the Qrreatest honor In the few in- 
stances of unnecessary and wanton devastation which 
took place they punished the aggressors. 


Richmond November 26, 1780. 

Sir, — The Enemy which lately invaded us left our 
Capes in the Night of the 2 2d Instant, what course they 
steered afterwards is not known. Another Fleet of 
Transports under the Command of Admiral Rodney 
fell down to the Hook on the nth Instant. As this 
as well as the Fleet which lately left us is destined for 
Charles Town we shall March from their present En- 
campments all the forces who are so equipped as that 


they can proceed to distant Service. With them will 
go on between three & Four Hundred Tents belong- 
ing to this State. Three Hundred more are on the 
Road from Philadelphia and as many to follow. As 
Baron Steuben remains here to organize our forces I 
shall be obliged by special Returns of the 18 Months 
Men 8 months Men, & three months Militia which 
have or shall Come unto you as frequently as con- 
venient. The Assembly being now met will shortly 
I hope furnish us with Money so that we may be once 
more able to send Supplies to the Southward We 
have Collected here at length, by impress principles, 
about thirty Waggons which have been delivered to 
the Continental Q-M. to be sent on with stores to 
Taylors Ferry. 


Richmond Nov 30. 1780. 

Sir, — The letter which covers this being of a public 
nature I wished separately to acknowlege the many 
things personally obliging to me expressed in your 
two letters. The very small amusements which it 
has been in my power to furnish in order to lighten 
some of your heavy hours by no means merited the 
acknowlegment you make. Their impression must 
be ascribed to your extreme sensibility rather than to 
their own weight. My wishes for your happiness 
give me participation in your joy at being exchanged 
sensibly however alloyed by a presentiment of the 

' One of the Convention prisoners, in Albemrale. 

374 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

loss I shall sustain when I shall again be permitted 
to withdraw to that scene of quiet retirement ab- 
stracted from which I know no happiness in this 
world. Your line of life must have criven you at- 
tachments to objects of a very different nature. 
When the course of events shall have removed you 
to distant scenes of action where laurels not tarnished 
with the blood of my country may be gathered, I 
shall urge sincere prayers for your obtaining every 
honor & preferment which may gladden the heart of 
a souldier. On the other hand should your fondness 
for philosophy resume it's merited ascendancy, is it 
impossible to hope that this unexplored country may 
tempt your residence by holding out materials where- 
with to build a fame founded on the happiness & not 
the calamities of human nature ? Be this as it may 
whether philosopher or souldier, I wish you many 


(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A. 

In Council December 11 1780. 
Sir, — At the request of Major General Baron de Steuben, I 
take the liberty of transmitting to you his letter and observations 
on the cautions he thinks necessary to be observed on the raising 
future recruits. I think it my duty also to mention to the Gen- 
eral Assembly that I have received information from him that a 
very considerable proportion of the new levies raised under an act 
of the last session of Assembly and now at Chesterfield are totally 
unfit for service, where much fatigue and hardship is to be en- 
dured, being old men, boys or decrepid : and for this reason he 
means to decline continuing them in Continental service and to 
return them to the State. 


Supposing that every intelligence which may tend to discover 
to the General Assembly the future determination of our enemies 
as to the conduct of the war against us may be acceptable, I beg 
leave to communicate to them the inclosed extract of a Letter I 
have received from William Lee esquire. It will be a very happy 
circumstance if the force intended to oppose their armies in the 
south can be brought into the field in time to find them em- 
barrassed & retarded with the difficulties of subsistance and 
transportation through the inland country. Once advanced to 
a navigable water the communications by sea will relieve them 
from much incumbrance and in a great measure ensure them 
from capital disaster. The proposals herewith transmitted for 
raising a standing body of forces for the defence of this state 
requiring conditions beyond the powers of the Executive I beg 
leave to submit them to the wisdom of the General Assembly. 


Richmond Dec: 15th, 1780. 

Sir, — I had the honor of writing to your Excel- 
lency on the subject of an expedition contemplated by 
this State against the British post at Detroit and of 
receiving your answer of Oct: loth. Since the date 
of my letter the face of things has so far changed as 
to leave it no longer optional in us to attempt or de- 
cline the expedition but compels us to decide in the 
affirmative and to begin our preparations immediately. 
The army the Enemy at present have in the South, 
the reinforcements still expected there, and their de- 
termination to direct their future exertions to that 
quarter, are not unknown to you. The regular force 
proposed on our part to counteract those exertions is 
such either from the real or supposed inability of this 

376 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

State as by no means to allow a hope that it may be 
effectual. It is therefore to be expected that the 
scene of war will either be within our country or very 
nearly advanced to it and that our principal depend- 
ance is to be on militia, for which reason it becomes 
incumbent to keep as great a proportion of our peo- 
ple as possible free to act in that quarter. In the 
meantime a Combination is forming in the westward 
which if not diverted will call thither a principal & 
most valuable part of our militia. From intelligence 
received we have reason to expect that a confederacy of 
British & Indians to the amount of 2000 men is formed 
for the purpose of spreading destruction & dismay 
thro' the whole extent of our frontier in the ensuing 
Spring. Should this take place we shall certainly 
lose in the South all aids of militia beyond the blue 
rido-e besides the inhabitants who must fall a sacrifice 
in the course of the savage irruptions. There seems 
to be but one method of preventing this which is to 
o-ive the Western enemy employment in their own 
country. The regular force Colo: Clarke already has 
with a proper draught from the militia beyond the 
Alleghany & that of three or four of our most northern 
counties will be adequate to the reduction of fort 
Detroit in the opinion of Colo: Clarke and he assigns 
the most probable reasons for that opinion. We have 
therefore determined to undertake & commit it to his 
direction. Whether the expence of the enterprise 
shall be at continent or state expence we will leave to 
be decided hereafter by Congress in whose justice we 
can confide as to the determination. In the mean 


time we only ask the loan of such necessaries as being 
already at Fort Pitt will save time and an immense 
expence of transportation. 

these are 

4 field pieces 6 pounders 

3000 balls suited to them 

one Mortar 

3000 shells suited to it 

2 h?^ 

Grape shot 

necessary implements and furniture for the above. 

1000 Spades 

200 pick axes 

I. travelling forge. 

Some boats ready made should we not have enough 
prepared in time 

Some Ships carpenter tools. 

These articles shall either be identically or specifi- 
cally returned, should we prove successful it is not 
improbable they may be where Congress would chuse 
to keep them. 1 am therefore to solicit your Excel- 
lency's order to the Commandant of fort Pitt for the 
above articles which shall not be called for until every- 
thing- is in readiness, after which there can be no dan- 
ger of their being wanted for the post at which they 
are : Indeed there are few of the articles essential for 
the defence of the post. 

I hope your Excellency will think yourself justified 
in lending us this aid without awaiting the effect of an 
application elsewhere as such a delay would render 
the undertaking abortive by postponing it to the 

378 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

breaking up of the ice in the lake. Independent of 
the favourable effects which a successful enterprise 
against Detroit must produce to the United States in 
general by keeping in quiet the frontier of the North- 
ern ones, and leaving our western militia at liberty to 
aid those of the South, we think the like friendly 
office performed by us to the States whenever desired 
and almost to the absolute exhausture of our own 
magazines give well founded hopes that we may be 
accommodated on this occasion. The supplies of 
military Stores which have been furnished by us to 
Fort Pitt itself, to the northern army, & most of all to 
the Southern are not altogether unknown to you. I 
am the more urgent for an immediate order because 
Colo: Clarke awaits here your Excellency's answer by 
the express, tho his presence in the Western Country 
to make preparations for the expedition is so very 
necessary if you enable him to undertake it. To the 
above I must add a request to you to send for us to 
Pittsburg persons proper to work the mortars &c. as 
Colo: Clarke has none such nor is there one in this 
State. They shall be in the pay of this State from 
the time they leave you. Any money necessary for 
their journey shall be repaid at Pittsburg without fail 
by the first of March. 

At the desire of the Genl Assembly I take the 
liberty of transmitting to you the enclosed resolution. 
And have the honour to be with the most perfect 
esteem & regard your Excellency's most obed & most 
hble servt. 



December 2ist, 1780. 

Sir, — I laid before the Council the Rev. Mr. 
Farming's letter to Mr. Tazewell together with the 
Letters and other Papers found on Mr. Wickham — 
The general expextations of remaining in this coun- 
try, with which the enemy (and probably) this young 
gentleman came into it, the political character of the 
Gentleman under whose auspices he came, his not 
leaving the Enemy 'till they were obliged to retire, 
and the complexion of his own Journals and Letters, 
are circumstances which place him, in their Belief, 
among the Enemies of this Country. Nothing ap- 
pears which even leads to a suspicion that a Differ- 
ence in political sentiment was among the motives 
which led him from his connections with the Enemy 
to seek a union with this Country. The manner of 
his effecting his Transition from the one Party to the 
other, was not likely to produce any other than a 
hostile Reception — he becomes an Enemy from an 
Enemy, in the midst of our Country, with arms in 
their Hands, attempts to pass without application to, 
or Leave from, any officer civil or military, and to 
bear Letters, negotiating an Interview between an 
officer high in the adverse command, and citizens of 
this State. Under these unfavourable circumstances, 
the Board cannot but deem him an Enemy, and 
(being within our Power) a Prisoner of War — They 
are at the same time as thoroughly satisfied of the 
decided principles of Whigism which have distin- 

' From Calendar of Virginia State Papers, II, 205. 

38o THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

guished the character of the Rev. Mr. Fanning, that 
they shall think this young Gentleman perfectly. safe 
under his care, so long as he stays in this State ; to 
him, therefore, they remit him until a flag, daily ex- 
pected from New York into Potowmack River, shall 
be returning to that Place, when they shall expect 
him to take his passage back, first calling on the 
Commissioner of the War Office to give a Proper 

TO ?• 

In Council December 21, 1780. 

Sir, — I have received authority from the Legis- 
lature to provide cloathing and blankets for the 
troops by seizing the same which will be accompanied 
by endeavours to purchase. Agents are out procur- 
ing salted beef and others setting out to procure 
pork in as large quantities as they are to be had to 
be stored on the Roanoke and its navigable waters. 
Ten thousand barrels of flour will certainly be pro- 
vided, the number of waggons which have been 
delivered to the Continental Q. M. since the date of 
Gen Gates' requisition I have not yet been able to 
procure a return of, nor the quantities of spirits 
delivered to the continental commissary, considerable 
deliveries of both articles have been made. Any 
other measures which may have been taken by the 
Assembly for further compliance with the requisitions 
of Genl. Green are yet uncommunicated to me, as 
arms were never among the requisitions made by 

' From the Historical Magazine, xiv% 244. 


Congress on the several states, this state never sup- 
posed it would be expected they should provide that 
article for their quota of Continental troops, they 
have only had in view to procure from time to time 
so many as might arm their militia when necessity 
required the calling them into service, from this 
stock they have furnished arms for Continental use 
till it is so reduced that they have not the smallest 
prospect of being able from the State magazines to 
spare as many as will arm their new Continental 


BERKELEY. ""'• ^- ^■ 

Richmond. December 24. 1780. 
Sir, — A powerful army forming by our enemies in the south, & 
an extensive combination of savages in the west will probably 
render the ensuing campaign exceedingly active, and particularly 
call forth all the exertions of this State, it is our duty to look 
forward in time and to make a proper division of our force 
between these two objects : there seems but one method of pre- 
venting the savages from spreading slaughter and desolation over 
our whole frontier, and that is by carrying the war into their own 
country : and to render even this measure effectual our move- 
ments must be so early as to be beforehand with them : Your 
County is allotted to the Western defence : you will therefore be 
pleased to send of your militia under proper officers by the way 
of pittsburg to the falls of Ohio to join under Colo Clarke in an 
expedition over that river and to continue in service during the 
expedition as to which Colo Clarke is instructed in from hence. 
They must be at pittsburg precisely by the first of March. They 
are to be subsisted on the way by such commissary as you shall 
appoint who is to act as Quarter Master both offices to cease 
when he shall have conducted the militia to Pittsburg. I 

382 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

send him for the purpose of fulfilling the duties of these two 
offices ' pounds which however I consider as principally 
to be expended in victualling the men as the baggage they 
take with them must be very trifling should it indeed be other- 
wise they will certainly lose it as the means of transportation 
will become less & less during their tour. Let every man go 
well armed, and with such arms as suit the Western service. I 
must desire you to keep up a constant correspondence with 
Colo Clarke til you shall have marched your men having fixed 
myself the number of men you are to furnish every other instruc- 
tion I give you herein is submitted to any alterations he shall 
find necessary. 


Richmond. December 24th. 1780. 

Sir, — It being found necessary to undertake an 
expedition into the Country beyond the Ohio, you are 
desired to apply for and receive from M^ Callaway 
of New London under the order inclosed one thou- 
sand w^ of good musket or rifle powder and to con- 
duct the same to Montgomery Court house. You 
are also to apply for and receive fifteen w' of lead 
from the manager of the lead mines under an order 
likewise inclosed and to convey it to the same place. 
You are moreover to act as Quarter Master & com- 
missary for the militia from Green Brier one hundred 
and thirty seven in number who are ordered to ren- 
dezvous at Montgomery court house by the 20th day 
of february next and to proceed thence with them to 
the falls of Ohio. You will therefore provide sub- 
sistence for them & forage necessary for the march, 

' Jefferson writes below : 

Hampshire 255 militia ;^25,ooo 
Berkeley 275 " 30,000 


and are hereby authorized to call on any commis- 
sioners of the provision Law or commissaries having 
public provisions in their hands to furnish you. You 
are moreover desired to purchase three hundred 
pack horses, pack saddles, halters & bells, which may 
serve to carry the ammunition before mentioned, pro- 
visions and the baggage of the men to the falls of 
Ohio where the whole will be received by Colo 
Clarke and your office determined. We expect you 
will purchase these horses for ^1500 a piece, tho 
aware of this necessity for purchasing them, we do 
not limit you absolutely in price, but rely on your dis- 
cretion to get them as cheap as you can. For these 
several purposes you receive ^500,000 — take great 
care to obtain such authority and protection from the 
commanding officer of the militia that your horses 
may not be subject to be rode or unnecessarily bur- 
thened, and that you may be able to deliver them in 
ofood condition at the falls of Ohio. I am to warn 
you to use the greatest expedition in performing these 
several duties, and to see that you be in readiness 
with every thing required of you at Montgomery 
court house by the 20th day of february as a failure 
on your part will inevitably defeat the whole design. 
Your accounts are to be finally settled with the board 
of auditors. 


V. S. A. 

Richmond, december 25111 1780. 

Sir, — A powerful army forming by our enemies in 
the South renders it necessary for us to reserve as 

384 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

much of our militia as possible free to act in that 
quarter. At the same time we have reason to be- 
lieve that a very extensive combination of British 
& Indian savages is preparing to invest our western 
frontier to prevent the cruel murders and devastations 
which attend the latter species of war, and at the 
same time to prevent its producing a powerful diver- 
sion of our force from the southern quarter in which 
they mean to make their principal effort and where 
alone success can be decisive of their ultimate object, 
it becomes necessary that we aim the first stroke in 
the western country and throw the enemy under the 
embarrassments of a defensive war rather than labor 
under them ourselves. We have therefore deter- 
mined that an expedition shall be undertaken under 
your command at a very early season of the approach- 
ing year into the hostile country beyond the Ohio, the 
principal object of which is to be the reduction of the 
British post at Detroit and incidental to it the acquir- 
ing possession of Lake Erie. The force destined for 
this enterprise is the Ilinois battalion, Colo Crocket's 
battalion, Maj Slaughter's corps, with detachments of 
militia from the Counties of Fayette, Lincoln, Jeffer- 
son, Ohio, Monongalia, Hampshire, Berkeley, Fred- 
eric and Greenbrier making in the whole 2000 men. 
necessary garrisons only to be deducted. Our desire 
is that the execution of this may be so timed as that 
you may have the advantage of that interval of time 
which intervenes between the breaking up of the ice 
in the Wabache and in the lake so as that you may 
avail yourself of the navigation of the former the 
moment it is open for the transportation of your 


men and baggage and still find the latter blocked 
up and the vesels of the enemy therein of course 
liable to be destroyed. That you may be fully pos- 
sessed of the means which are to be in your hands 
for the purposes beforementioned, you are furnished 
with copies of the orders given to the Lieutenants, 
Commissaries & Quarter Masters in the Counties 
before mentioned. The substance of them is as 
follows — Mr. Roland Madison is employed to carry 
1000 of rifle powder from New-London and 1500 lbs 
of lead from the lead mines to Montgomery Court 
house. To purchase 300 pack horses with pack 
saddles, Halters and Bells ready and to lay in sub- 
sistence for them and 137 militia from Greenbrier 
County, who by orders given to the Lieutenant of 
that County are to rendezvous at Montgomery Court 
House by the 20th of February, these to take under 
their escort the ammunition and pack horses before- 
mentioned and to be with them at the falls of Ohio 
by the 15th day of March. Mr. Madison is furnished 
with money to purchase the horses and furniture and 
to lay in subsistence and forage from Montgomery 
Court House to the falls of Ohio where his duties 

Forty bell tents, 40 common tents, a chest of medi- 
cine, some summer clothing will be sent from this 
place; 1000'^ of Rifle powder from Staunton, 400 
campkettles from Fredericksburg to the County 
Lieutenant of Frederick, who is ordered to send 
them with 285 of his militia to Pittsburg at which 
place they are to be the first day of March. 

386 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

The County Lieutenants of Berkeley and Hamp- 
shire are ordered to send the former 275 and the 
latter 255 of their respective militias to be at Pitts- 
burg by the first day of March. Proper instructions 
are prepared for such persons as each of the county 
Lieutenants of Frederick, Berkeley & Hampshire 
shall appoint to act in the joint offices of Commis- 
sary and Quarter Master to Pittsburg where their 
offices determine, and money is sent to each for the 
purposes of subsistence and transportation. 

The County Lieutenants of Monongalia and Ohio 
are ordered to rendezvous one fourth of their militia 
at Pittsburg by the first day of March. All these 
militia are ordered to go under proper officers well 
armed with Arms suitable to western service and to 
serve during the continuance of the expedition as 
herein described. Colo Crocket is ordered to be with 
his battalion at Pittsburg by the same day and 
money to enable him to proceed is sent to him. 

An agent is sent to Baltimore and Philadelphia to 
purchase four tons of canon powder and to send it to 
Pittsburg by the ist day of March. 

Application is made to Genl Washington to lend 
us of the Continental stores at Pittsburg 4 canon 
six pounders mounted on field carriages with ball 
suitable, a mortar with shells, 2 Howitz, grape shot 
and other necessary furnitures, 1000 spades, 200 
pick axes, 500 axes, a travelling forge, ship car- 
penter's tools, and boats for transportation down the 
river should we fail in having a sufficient number in 
readiness and to send us skilful persons to manage 
the mortars. 


John Francis Moore, who was some time ago sent 
to purchase in the vicinities of Fort Pitt provisions 
for the Western Posts, is now ordered to extend his 
purchases to 200,000 rations of beef and flour, and 
to provide 100 light Barges fit for transporting men 
and stores either down or up stream. These to be 
all in readiness by the ist of March as we are not 
certain whether he may not be gone down the river, 
these powers were directed to himself, or in case of 
his absence to any Agent he should have appointed, 
and if he appointed none, then to Mr William Harri- 
son of Mononsfalia. 

At Pittsburg we depend on orders to be given by^ 
you for the removal of men and stores to the Falls 
of Ohio by the 15 of March, 

The County Lieutenants of Fayette, Lincoln and 
Jefferson are ordered to rendezvous at the falls of 
Ohio by the 15 of March 500 of their militia to be 
furnished between those Counties in Proportion to 
their numbers & have ready at the same place and 
by the same day 50 canoes each : Money is sent to 
pay for these. In those counties you inform us you 
expect 1 0000 rations will be provided for you, you 
will of course order them to the falls of Ohio. 

All the preceding orders (except as to the number 
of men from each county) are submitted to any alter- 
ations you may think necessary, and you are author- 
ized to supply any deficiencies in them. The Staff 
Officers are submitted absolutely to you, and on 
removal of any of them by you or their death, resig- 
nation or declining to act you are to appoint others. 
The County Lieutenants are desired to keep up a 

388 THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

constant correspondence with you & the Staff Officers 
to inform you from time to time of their progress 
and to receive your orders. Thus you will perceive 
that we expect all to be in readiness at the Falls of 
Ohio by the 15th of March. 

What number of men and whether of Regulars or 
Militia you shall leave to garrison the Posts at the 
falls & Mouth of the Ohio is left to yourself. As the 
latter however is exposed to attack from an enemy 
against whom this expedition will be no diversion of 
force, and as it is distant from succour, it is recom- 
mended to you to leave it surely garrisoned and to 
take measures for its being supported from the Span- 
ish side of the Mississippi should it be necessary. 

You will then with such part of your force as you 
shall not leave in garrison proceed down the Ohio 
and up the Wabache or along such other route as 
you shall think best against Detroit. By the con- 
struction of a fort or forts for retreat at such place 
or places as you shall think best, and by such other 
cautions as you find necessary you will provide for 
the ultimate safety of your men in case of a repulse. 
Should you succeed in the reduction of fort Detroit 
and a hopeful prospect open to you of acquiring 
possession of Lake Erie, or should such prospect 
open during the investiture of the fort you are to 
pursue it. As soon as you have accomplished both 
objects of the fort and lake, or shall have accom- 
plished the one and find the other impracticable, or 
as soon as you shall find that neither is practicable, 


you are to consider your expedition as ended and to 
withdraw your whole force. If you attain neither 
object, or, if you acquire one or both of them, to retain 
for a garrison at Detroit so many of the Illinois & 
Crocket's battalions as you may think necessary and 
to send the rest back across the Ohio ; in the event 
indeed of declining to attempt the reduction of 
Detroit you are at liberty to consider whether some 
enterprise against the hostile nations of Indians may 
not be undertaken with your force, and if you think 
it can, and that it will be expedient for the public 
good, and eligible on view of all circumstances you 
will undertake it and detain your force until you 
shall have finished it : In every event, the militia on 
their return are to be marched back to their Counties 
under their own officers and there to be discharged. 

Should you succeed in the reduction of the Post, 
you are to promise protection to the Persons & 
property of the French and American inhabitants, or 
of such at least as shall not on tender refuse to take 
the Oath of fidelity to the Commonwealth. You are 
to permit them to continue under the laws & form 
of Government under which they at present live, 
only substituting the authority of this Commonwealth 
in all instances in lieu of that of his British Majesty, 
and exercising yourself under that authority till 
further order those powers which the British Com- 
mandant of the Post or his principal in Canada hath 
used regularly to exercise. To the Indian neighbours 
you will hold out either fear or friendship as their 

39© THE WRITINGS OF [1780 

disposition and your actual situation may render 
most expedient. 

Finally, our distance from the scene of action, the 
impossibility of foreseeing the many circumstances 
which may render proper a change of plan or direc- 
tion of object, and above all our full confidence in 
your bravery, discretion & abilities induce us to sub- 
mit the whole of our instructions to your own judg- 
ment, to be altered or abandoned whenever any event 
shall turn up which may appear to you to render 
such alteration or abandonment necessary : remem- 
bering that we confide to you the persons of our 
Troops & Citizens which we think it a duty to risque 
as long as & no longer than the object and prospect 
of attaining it may seem worthy to risque. If that 
Post be reduced we shall be quiet in future on our 
frontier and thereby immense Treasures of blood and 
money be saved : we shall be at leisure to turn our 
whole force to the rescue of our eastern Country 
from subjugation ; we shall divert through our own 
Country a branch of commerce which the European 
States have thought worthy of the most important 
struggles and sacrifices, and in the event of peace on 
terms which have been contemplated by some powers 
we shall form to the American union a barrier against 
the daneerous extension of the British Province of 
Canada and add to the Empire of liberty an exten- 
sive and futile country, thereby converting dangerous 
enemies into valuable Friends. 



(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A. 

In Council Dec. 29. 1780. 

Sir, — The inclosed resolution of Congress came to hand yester- 
day. As it is on the same subject with the resolution of assembly 
of 23"^ Deer. I beg leave to lay it before them. That the assem- 
bly may be informed of the footing on which this matter stood 
at the time of their resolution I beg leave to inclose to them an 
abstract from my letter to Colo. Wood giving a general order for 
the removal of the whole Convention troops, and a second one 
which for reasons strongly urged by him suspended the removal 
of the Germans for a time. These measures when taken were 
duly communicated to Congress & to Governor Lee and were 
approved of by Congress. 

What circumstances may have induced an alteration in their 
opinion I am uninformed. I conjecture however that some diffi- 
culty on the subject of provisions has arisen ; for by a Letter 
from the board of war which came to hand with this resolution 
we are called on to furnish half the provisions necessary for that 
part of the Conventioners who are gone on, & to transport this 
to Frederic town in Maryland. Against this I mean to remon- 
strate and have no doubt of satisfying Congress that this requisi- 
tion has been too hastily adopted. But I should be glad to be 
advised by the assembly how to conduct myself should the in- 
closed resolution of Congress be adhered to on their part : as our 
rights of jurisdiction cease at our boundry. 


Richmond, December, 31st, 1780. 

Sir, — I have this moment received information that 
27 Sail of Vessels, 18 of which were square rigged, 
were yesterday morning just below Willoughby's 
Point. No other circumstance being given to con- 

' Copied from the Sparks MSS., Harvard College. 



jecture their force or destination, I am only able to 
dispatch Gen! Nelson into the lower Country, to 
take such measures as exigencies may require for 
the instant, until further information is received here. 
Then or in the mean time your aid and counsel will 
be deemed valuable. 


Saturday, December the 31st, 1780, eight o'clock, 
A.M. Received first intelligence that twenty-seven 
sail were, on the morning of December the 29th, just 
below Willoughby's Point. Sent off General Nelson, 
with full powers. 

1781. January the I St. No intelligence. 

January the 2d, ten o'clock, a.m. Information from 
N. Burwell, that their advance was at Warrasqueak 
Bay. Gave orders for militia, a quarter from some, 
and half from other counties. Assembly rose. 

Wednesday, January the 3d, eight o'clock, p.m. 
Received a letter from E. Archer, Swan's Point, that 
at twelve o'clock that day they were at anchor a little 
below Jamestown. At five o'clock, p.m., of the same 
day, I had received a letter from R. Andrews for 
General Nelson, that they were at Jamestown the 
evening of the 2d, 


' These extracts were made by Jefferson, with a view to vindicate himself 
from the charges of incompetence and cowardness made in connection with the 
invasion of Virginia in 1781. The copy from which this is printed, was writ- 
ten in 1800, and the original diary is no longer extant. Under the year 1800, 
in this collection, will be printed two more papers relating to this subject, one 
of which is also m diary form. 


Thursday, January the 4th, five o'clock, a.m. Mr. 
Eppes and family, &c,, came and informed me from 
the Speaker, that they had passed Kennon's and 
Hood's the evening before ; the tide having made for 
them at one o'clock, p.m., of the 3d, and the wind 
shifted to the east strong. They had not, however, 
passed Hood's, but anchored at Kennon's. Called 
whole militia from adjacent counties. I was then 
anxious to know whether they would pass Westover, 
or not, as that would show the side they would land. 

Five o'clock, p.m. Learned by Captain De Pon 
thiere, that at two o'clock, p.m., they were drawn 
up at Westover. Then ordered arms, and stores, 
&c., (which till then had been carrying to Westham,) 
to be thrown across the river at Richmond ; and at 
half-past seven o'clock, p.m., set out to the foundry 
and Westham, and set Captain Brush, Captain Irish, 
and Mr. Hylton, to see everything wagoned from the 
magazine and laboratory to Westham, and there 
thrown over ; to work all night. The enemy en- 
camped at Four-Mile Creek. I went to Tuckahoe 
and lodged. 

January the 5th. Went early over the river with 
my family ; sent them up to Fine Creek ; went my- 
self to Westham ; gave orders for withdrawing am- 
munition and arms (which lay exposed on the bank 
to the effect of artillery from opposite shore), behind 
a point. Then went to Manchester ; had a view of 
the enemy. My horse sunk under me with fatigue ; 
borrowed one, went to Chetwood's, appointed by 
Baron Steuben as a rendezvous and head-quarters ; 

394 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

but finding him not there, and understanding he 
would go to Colonel Henry's, I proceeded there for 
quarters. The enemy arrived in Richmond at one 
o'clock, P.M. One regiment of infantry and thirty 
horse proceeded, without stopping, to the foundry ; 
burned that and the magazine and Ballendine's house, 
and went as far as Westham. They returned that 
evening to Richmond. Sent me a proposition to 
compound for property. Refused. 

January the 6th. In the morning they burned 
certain houses and stores, and at twelve o'clock of 
that day left Richmond, and encamped at Four-Mile 
Creek. I went to Westham, ordered books and 
papers particularly from magazine. In the evening I 
went up to Fine Creek. 

January the 7th. I returned to Westham, and 
then came down to Manchester, where I lodged. 
The enemy encamped at Westover and Berkley. It 
had rained excessively the preceding night, and con- 
tinued to do so till about noon. Gibson has one 
thousand ; Steuben, eight hundred ; Davis, two hun- 
dred ; Nelson, two hundred and fifty. 

January the 8th, at half-past seven o'clock, a.m. I 
returned to Richmond. The wind gets, about this 
time, to north-west : a good gale ; in the afternoon 
becomes easterly. The enemy remain in their last 
encampment. General Nelson at Charles City C. H. 
Colonel Nicholas with three hundred men at the 

January the 9th, eleven o'clock. The wind is 
south-east, but almost nothing. The enemy remain 


in their last encampment, except embarking their 

January the loth, at one o'clock, p.m. They em- 
bark infantry, and fall down the river, the wind hav- 
ing shifted a little north of west, and pretty fresh. 
Baron Steuben gets to Bland's Mills to-night, nine 
miles short of Hood's. 

January the nth, eight o'clock, a.m. The wind 
due west, and strong. 


(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A. 

In Council Jan. i. 1781. 
Sir, — The inclosed letter conveying intelligence of a fleet 
appearing in our bay, came to hand yesterday. Its size has given 
suspicions that it may be hostile, more especially as we have been 
lately informed that an embarkation was taking place at New 
York. I have thought it my duty to communicate it to the 
General assembly before their rising, as they might perhaps wish 
to give some advice to the Executive on this subject. 


(benjamin HARRISON.) V. S. A. 

January ist, 1781. 
Sir, — I have this moment received confirmation of the arrival 
of a hostile fleet consisting of 19 ships, and two brigs and two 
sloops and schooners, the advance of a fleet were yesterday morn- 
ing in Warrasqueak and just getting into motion up the river 
with a favorable wind and tide. Their destination from intelli- 
gence of deserters and some captured mariners whom they put on 
shore is up James River. I beg the favor of you to communicate 
this intelligence to the General Assembly. 

396 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 


Richmond. January 2d, 1781. 

Sir, — It happened unfortunately from the tenor of 
Mr. Wray's letter which gave us the first intelli- 
o-ence of the Appearance of an Enemy we had reason 
to expect more precise information within a few 
hours : none such having come within fifty hours, the 
first intelligence had become totally disbelieved. At 
10 o'clock this morning I first received confirmation 
of it. Orders go out by the members of Assembly 
to call together half the Militia of the most conven- 
ient Counties for present Opposition and one fourth 
from more distant Counties. We mean to have four 
thousand six hundred Militia in the field. In this 
number is not included any below this County. 
Hanover, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Sussex and South- 
ampton, all below these Counties we have left un- 
called on to be drawn by you (or such of them as 
you think proper) into such parts of the lower 
Country as you shall think best. Mr. Brown the 
Commissary has Orders to send a Deputy to furnish 
you with provisions. I do myself the pleasure of 
sending you a Commission. I pray you to send as 
frequent intelligence as possible. Expresses being 
in readiness for this purpose at Williamsburg and 
New Kent Court House. Be pleased to give the 
same notice to the militia as formerly that no man 
will be ever discharged till he shall have returned 
whatever Public Arms or Accoutrements he shall 
have received : be also particular in noting what is 
delivered to every man. We mean to appoint the 


Field Officers on the same plan as In the former In- 
vasion from the resigned and supernumery, preserv- 
ing the Ranks of those Gentlemen accurately as 
among themselves. 


January 2d. 1781. 

Sir, — I have this moment received a confirmation 
of the arrival of a hostile Fleet consisting of 19 
Ships, 2 Brigs, and 10 Sloops and Schooners. The 
advance of the Fleet were yesterday morning in 
Warrasqueak Bay, and just getting into motion up 
the river with a favorable wind and tide : their desti- 
nation from the intelligence of deserters and some 
captured mariners, whom they put on shore, is some 
where up the river, supposed to be Petersburg. We 
shall be very glad of the aid of your counsel in de- 
terminino- on the force to be collected, and other 
circumstances necessary to be attended to, for the 
purpose of opposition, if it be convenient for you to 
call on the council immediately. 

BRUNSWICK. V. s. a. 

Richmond. January 2d, 1781. 
Sir, — The arrival of a hostile force within our State being 
confirmed and their movements indicating an intention to come 
' From the Sparks MSS., Harvard College. 

398 . THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

immediately into the Heart of the Country renders it necessary 
to call for of your militia under proper captains and 

subaltern officers to rendezvous 

That there may not be an instants delay let them come in 
detached parties as they can be collected ; every man who has 
arms bring them. The good of the service requires that the 
Field Officers at least be experienced in the service, for this 
reason these will be provided for at the Rendezvous. I beg that 
this may not be considered by the militia Field Officers from 
want of Respect to them. We know & confide in their zeal : but 
it cannot be disreputable to them to be less knowing in the art of 
war than those who have greater experience in it : and being less 
knowing, I am sure spirit of Patriotism with which they are 
animated will lead them to wish that measure to be adopted 
which will most promote the Public safety however it may tend 
to keep them from the Post in which they would wish to appear 
in defence of their Country. The Militia must be subsisted to 
their Rendezvous under the rules of the Invasion law. A list of 
all certificates given being kept and returned to the Auditors. 


ROCKBRIDGE. v. s. a. 

In Council. January 2d. 1781. 
Sir, — The Enemy having again thought proper to invade our 
Country and being now on their way up James River, I have 
thought proper with advice of the Council of State to require 
of your militia under proper officers to repair imme- 
diately to Richmond, armed with good Rifles and Accoutrements 
suitable as far as they have them ; such of them as have not 
Rifles will be armed here with muskets and joined to Battalions 
of Musquetry. Those who bring Rifles will be formed into a 
seperate corps. Much will depend on the proper choice Officers. 
They are to be furnished with Provisions by impressing it as 
directed by the Invasion law, the Person procuring it for them 
keeping and returning to the Auditors a list of the certificates 



they grant, stating the Name, Article, Price and Purpose. As the 
Enemy show by their movements an intention to take Post in the 
Heart of our Country at once I beseech you to lose not a moment 
in sending of your men. 



Richmond. January 4, 1781. 
Sir, — The Enemy having last night passed up James River and 
seeming to point immediately to this place or Petersburg, I must 
desire you without a moments delay to send every man of your 
County able to bear Arms to rendezvous at Westham, let them 
come in small Detachments as they can be collected and not wait 
to be formed into Companies. 


In Council. January 4, 1781. 

Sir, — The enemy now appear to be pushing to 
this place and we know not how much further they 
may attempt to penetrate. A suspicion that the 
Conventioners might be induced to attempt a Co- 
operation and by that means distract the efforts of 
our People renders it necessary that in the instant of 
your receiving this you put those Troops into Motion 
without waiting for their Baggage or anything else, 
within a very few hours we expect you may throw 
the whole across the blue ridge and it may be well 
for you to call on the Counties of Augusta, Amherst 
and Albemarle to collect a force at Rockfish gap 
to oppose any pursuit. I would not have those 



Counties on account of such a call withold the militia 
required to come here. They must furnish so many 
additional as you call for. A multiplicity of business 
puts it out of my Power to send you written Powers 
of impress. But you must exercise that Power for 
every purpose only requiring you to keep exact lists 
of their Certificates to be returned to the Auditors as 
directed on a former Occasion. 


In Council. January 4, 1781. 

Sii^^ — The present invasion having rendered it 
necessary to call into the field a large Body of Militia 
the providing them with subsistence, and the means 
of transportation becomes an arduous task in the 
unorganized state of our military system. To effect 
this we are obliged to vest the Heads of the Com- 
missary's and Quarter Master's Departments with 
such Powers as if abused will be most afifiicting to the 
People. Major General Baron Steuben taught by 
experience on similar occasions has pressed on us the 
necessity of calling to the Superintendance of these 
Officers some Gentleman of distinguished Character 
and abilities, who, while he prescribes to them such 
Rules as will effectually produce the object of their 
appointment, will yet stand between them and the 
people as a Guard from Oppression. Such a Gentle- 
man he would propose to consider as of his Family ; 
under the exegency we have taken the Liberty of 
casting our eyes on yourself as most likely to fulfill 
our wishes and therefore solicit your undertaking this 

1 7 8 1 ] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 40 1 

charge ; in doing this we rely on the impulse of purer 
motives than those which would spring from any pe- 
cuniary reward it is our power to offer. At the same 
time we cannot with justice permit that any expenses 
incurred in such a station should be borne by your- 
self. I shall hope to receive your answer by the re- 
turn of the Bearer. 


Richmond. January 4— 1781. 

Sir, — •?«• * -x- J immediately on receiving the 
communication from you by Major Walker ' that you 
would wish such a person as you therein described to 
be with you. I laid it before the Council. We con- 
cluded to propose to Major Walker (late of our dele- 
gates) to accept of this office having once been a 
member of the Council he is not unacquainted with 
our arrangements. I sent to him by Express and 
shall hope an answer very shortly. I sincerely wish 
he may consent to undertake it, as I am satisfied he 
can ^2lM^ you much Trouble. Should he decline it I 

' On Jan. 18, 1781, Jefferson wrote to John Walker : " Baron Steuben who 
commands the military force in this state on the present invasion, being much 
unacquainted with its laws, customs, resources and organization while he has 
hourly cause to apply to them has desired we will prevail on some gentleman 
acquainted with these to be of his family to point his applications to the proper 
persons & places and to enable him to avail himself of our strength and 
resources. Searching about for such a person we cast our eye on you and 
hope you will undertake the office. Whatever expences may be incurred by 
you on this occasion must be public & a proper compensation moreover be 
paid for time and trouble. These matters may be settled either before or after 
the service performed, as you chuse. Your answer by the bearer and imme- 
diate attendance if possible will oblige." 



apprehend it not easy to find another who will be 
of real use to you. None of the militia with Genl. 
Weedon (except from the Counties of Rockbridge, 
Augusta, Rockingham and Shenandoah) were of the 
Counties intended to be kept in the Field. I thought 
it necessary to mention this circumstance to you as 
you might perhaps think proper to discharge them 
before they join Genl. Nelson. 


Manchester, Jany. 7th, 1781,^ past g p.m. 

Sir, — Your letter of this morning on the subject 
of finding where the arms have been sent and having 
them put into the hands of the Militia I have this 
mornine received. I think most of the arms have 
been sent off in different directions by the orders of 
Colo, Davies, whom I believe to be therefore best 
acquainted with their situation. If I did not misun- 
derstand him to-day he has accordingly directed par- 
ticular bodies of militia to go to particular places to 
receive arms. However (if I do not go to Richmond 
to-night which I have some thought of doing) I will 
write to Col. Muter to appoint some proper person 
to undertake and execute this business immediately 
as you desire ; as I wish exceedingly to relieve you 
from every unnecessary embarrassment when I know 
you are exposed to but too many which are unavoid- 

' From the Sparks MSS., Harvard College. 



Manchester, Jan. 7th. 1781. 2 o'clock p.m. 

Sir — I have thought myself very unfortunate in 
missing of you for two days though riding over the 
same ground on which you were. On my arrival 
here I was informed you were at Ampshill and was 
setting out for there, when a Gentleman came who 
assured me you were at Ozborne's and having rode 
thirty miles through the rain, I have not resolution 
enough to undertake to go to Ozborne's this evening, 

I received your letter of yesterday at Westham at 
noon. I fear it will be impossible to furnish the 
thousand Stand of Arms you desire. Col. Davies 
has sent some hundreds from Westham to different 
places to be put into the hands of the Militia coming 
in. He has undertaken to have those remaining there 
separated, in order that such as are capable of being 
used may be sent to you, and I have engaged per- 
sons who are gone out to impress Waggons to trans- 
port them to you. Colo. Davies seemed doubtful to 
what place they should be ordered. I mean to con- 
tinue here or at Richmond to see whether I can col- 
lect the several Staff Officers of the State, and have 
the benefit of their Services on the present occasion. 
I shall be very happy to aid those of the Continent 
with every power I am invested with. While at 
either of these places I shall be able to communicate 
both with yourself and General Nelson, and to do 
everything you will be pleased to suggest for the 

' From the Sparks MSS., Harvard College. 

404 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

service. I fear the want of Arms fit for service will 
be a most distressing circumstance. Are there no 
Continental Arms which can be used on the present 
occasion ? I mean to endeavour to collect hands and 
tools immediately to repair Arms. Tools will be the 
most difficult to be procured. 


Richmond. January g — 1781. 

Sir, — Mr. Granville Smith, a State Quarter Master, 
now waits on you. As I am not thoroughly ac- 
quainted with the Continental Regulations, I shall 
just mention to you my Ideas on this particular mat- 
ter without laying any stress on them and leave to 
your determination the propriety of using Mr. Smith. 
I have ever understood that the rule of Congress 
was to admit no expenses to be Continental which 
were incurred by any State merely under an ap- 
prehension of an invasion ; but that whenever a 
State was actually invaded all expenses became Con- 
tinental. This I know was the rule while I was a 
member of Congress, but as it is four years since I 
was a member of Congress, I cannot affirm of my own 
knowledge, though I have understood that it is still 
the rule. The practice here has accordingly been for 
the Continental Quarter Master to come into duty as 
soon as the State has been invaded ; he being ap- 
pointed under the authority of Congress, it has been 
supposed that he could best regulate all expenses 
according to the Continental rules. The State Quar- 


ter Master not being appointed under Congress, not 
possessing their confidence, nor subject to their re- 
moval or punishment, seems for these reasons an im- 
proper person to dispense their monies. I submit 
these matters, however, altogether to yourself. Should 
you think it proper that the State Quarter Master 
should act, Mr. Smith is instructed to receive your 
orders : he is a discreet & sensible person. 



Richmond Jany 10. 1781. 

Sir, — It may seem odd considering the important 
events which have taken place in this State within 
the course of ten days past, that I should not have 
transmitted an account of them to your Excellency ; 
but such has been their extraordinary rapidity & 
such the unremitted exertions they have required 
from all concerned in government that I do not 
recollect the portion of time which I could have taken 
to commit them to paper. 

On the 31st of December, a Letter from a private 
gentleman to General Nelson came to my hands, 
notifying that in the morning of the preceding day 
27 sail of vessels had entered the capes & from the 
tenor of the letter we had reason to expect within 
a few hours further intelligence whether they were 
friends or foes, their force, & other circumstances. 

' A letter to Washington of the same date and tenor is printed in Washing- 
ton's edition, i, 282. 

4o6 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

We immediately despatched General Nelson to the 
lower Country with power to call on the Militia in 
that quarter or to act otherwise as exigencies should 
require ; but waited further intelligence before we 
would call for militia from the middle or upper 
country. No further intelligence came until the 2d 
inst. when the former was confirmed, it was ascer- 
tained that they were enemies & had advanced up 
James river in Warrasqueak bay. All arrangements 
were immediately taken for calling in a sufficient 
body of Militia for opposition. In the night of the 
3d we received advice that they were at anchor op- 
posite Jamestown. We then supposed Wmsburg to 
be their object. The wind however, which had 
hitherto been unfavorable, shifted fair, and the tide 
being also in their favor they ascended the river to 
Kennons' that evening, and with the next tide came 
up to Westover, having on their way taken posses- 
sion of some works we had at Hoods, by which two 
or three of their vessels had received some damage 
but which were of necessity abandoned by the small 
garrison of 50 men placed there on the enemy's land- 
ing to invest the works. Intelligence of their having 
quitted the station at Jamestown from which we 
supposed they meant to land for Wmsburg and that 
they had got in the evening to Kennons' reached us 
the next morning at 5 o'clock, & was the first indica- 
tion of their meaning to penetrate towards this place 
or Petersburof. As the orders for drawincr Militia 
hither had been given but two days no opposition 
was in readiness. Every Effort was therefore neces- 

1 7 8 1 ] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 407 

sary to withdraw the arms & other MiHtary Stores 
records &c. from this place. Every Effort was ac- 
cordingly exerted to convey them to the Foundry 
five miles & to the laboratory six miles above 
this place till about sunset of that day when we 
learnt that the enemy had come to an anchor at 
Westover that morning. We then knew that this & 
not Petersburg was their object & began to carry 
across the river everything remaining here, & to 
remove what had been transported to the Foundry 
& Laboratory to Westham the nearest crossing seven 
miles above this place, which operation was continued 
till they had approached very near. They marched 
from Westover at 2 o'Clock in the afternoon of the 4th, 
& entered Richmond at i o'Clock in the afternoon of 
the 5th. A regiment of infantry & about 30 horse 
continued on without halting to the Foundry. They 
burnt that, the boring mill, the magazine and two 
other houses, & proceeded to Westham, but nothing 
being in their power there they retired to Richmond. 
The next morning they burnt some buildings of pub- 
lic & private property, with what stores remained in 
them, destroyed a great quantity of private Stores & 
about 12 o'clock retired towards Westover where 
they encamped within the neck the next day. The 
loss sustained is not yet accurately known. As far 
as I have been able to discover it consisted at this 
place in about 300 muskets, some soldiers clothing 
to a small amount some quartermasters Stores of 
which 120 sides of leather is the principal article, 
part of the artificers tools & 3 waggons. Besides 

4o8 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

which 5 brass 4 P.ers which we had sunk in the river 
were discovered to them raised & carried off. At 
the Foundry we lost the greater part of the papers 
belonorinor to the Auditors office, & of the books & 
papers of the Council office, about 5 or 6 tons as we 
conjecture of powder was thrown into the canal of 
which there will be a considerable saving by remanu- 
facturing it. The roof of the foundry was burnt 
but the Stacks of Chimney's & furnaces not at all in- 
jured. The boring mill was consumed. Within less 
than 48 hours from the time of their landing & 19 
from our knowing their destination they had pene- 
trated 33 miles, done the whole injury & retired. 
Their numbers from the best intelligence I have had 
are about 1500 infantry & as to their cavalry accounts 
vary from 50 to 120, the whole commanded by the 
parricide Arnold. Our Militia dispersed over a large 
tract of Country can be called in but slowly. On 
the day the enemy advanced to this place 200 only 
were embodied. They were of this town & its 
neighbourhood and were too few to do anything. At 
this time they are assembled in pretty considerable 
numbers on the South side of James river but are 
not all yet brought to a point. On the north side 
are two or three small bodies, amounting in the 
whole to about 900 men. The enemy were at 4 
o'clock yesterday evening still remaining in their 
encampment at Westover & Berkeley neck. In the 
meanwhile Baron Steuben a zealous friend has de- 
scended from the dignity of his proper command to 
direct our smallest movements. His vigilance has in 


a great measure supplied the want of force in pre- 
venting the enemy from crossing the river, which 
might have been very fatal. He has been assiduous- 
ly employed in preparing equipments for the Militia 
as they should assemble pointing them to a proper 
object & other offices of a good commander. Should 
they loiter a little longer & he be able to have a suf- 
ficient force I shall flatter myself that they will not 
escape with total impunity. To what place they will 
point their next exertions we cannot even conjecture. 
The whole Country on the tide waters & some dis- 
tance from them is equally open to similar insult. I 
have the honor to be with every sentiment of 
respect, your Excellency's most obedient, and most 
humble servant. 


Januaiy 10. — 1781. 

Sir, — I am not fond of encouraging an intercourse 
with the enemy for the recovery of property ; how- 
ever I shall not forbid it while conducted on princi- 
ples which are fair and general. If the British Com- 
mander chuses to discriminate between the several 
species of property taken from the People ; if he 
chuses to say he will restore all of one kind, and 
retain all of another, I am contented that individuals 
shall avail themselves of this discrimination ; but 
no distinctions of persons must be admitted. The 
moment it is proposed that the same species of prop- 
erty shall be restored to one which is refused to 
another, let every application to him for restitution 


be prohibited. The principles by which his discrimi- 
nation would be governed are but too obvious, and 
they are the reverse of what we should approve. 


Richmond. Jany 12 — 1781. 

The Enemy left a number of Horses at Westover 
which they had taken during the late incursion. 
Col° Nicholas very properly ordered a party to take 
charge of them and bring them to the Quarter 
Master where they might be kept for the owners to 
come and claim them ; but I am well informed that 
in the meantime several men of Capt Hockaday's 
command of Charles City have plundered & carried 
them off. These men being under your command 
I beg you to take the most coercive measures for 
compelling a restitution and letting them know that 
the most rigorous and exemplary punishment will be 
inflicted on every man who shall be known to have 
one of them and not to deliver him up. Such as are 
recovered be so good as to have brought up. The 
mischief done us by our citizens plundering one 
another has far exceeded what the enemy did. 


Richmond. Jany 13 — 1781. 

Sir, — I received your favor of the iith by Mr. 
Smith I cannot say at what point of time the ex- 
penses attending an invasion become Continental. I 

1 7 8 1 ] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 411 

suppose Congress have some fixed rule on that sub- 
ject, which, whatever it be when applied to all the 
States, will be equal. 

From the time at which they called for specie 
quotas of Provisions from the several States, they 
seem to have considered their purchasing Commis- 
saries as useless, and therefore desired us, whenever 
we should have appointed a person to furnish the 
specifics, we would discontinue their purchasing Com- 
missaries. We appointed Mr. Brown to procure the 
specifics, which he is either to deliver to certain store 
keepers appointed by the Continental Quarter Masters 
or to the Continental issuing Commissaries. I think 
therefore Mr. Brown may continue to act with you 
with propriety and I hope he will with effect. We 
did not discontinue Continental Deputy Commissary 
of purchases here (Maj Forsyth) but his acceptance 
of a similar office in another quarter seems to have 
determined his former commission. I have heard 
nothing from the enemy since their reaching Sandy 
Point, this leaves me very anxious for our shipyard 
up the Chickahominy. 

I have lately received some dispatches which render 
it necessary for Col° Clarke to proceed immediately 
to the western Country. I have written to him on 
this subject, and hope he will obtain your permission 
to return. I did not expect at the time he went to 
you that his stay would have been rendered so 

If this incursion of the Enemy should much longer 
postpone the execution of the late Law for raising 




new levies, it will be among its worst effects. Yet 
this law cannot be carried into execution in those 
Counties from which militia are sent. Foreseeing 
this, when you had favored us with your advice as to 
the numbers which should be called into the field we 
confined the call to the following Counties, and re- 
quiring from each a fourth we expected the follow- 

inof numbers 

Halifax 247. 

Charlotte 156. 

P. Edward 142. 

Bedford 325. 

Bucking"" 162. 

Amherst 224. 

Sussex 175- 

Augusta 344. 

Albemarle 218. 

Fluvanna 65. 

Goochland 145. 

Cumberland. . . .102. 

Powhatan 71. 

Amelia 275. 

Southamp" 218. 

Rockingh"' 219. 

Lunenberg 168 

MecklenK 212 

Brunswick 325 

Dinwiddle 175 

Chesterfield 164 

Henrico I55 

Rockbridge 146 

Shenandoah 216 

Total 4650 

The whole amount is something larger than you 
desired but we of course expected deficiencies. Some 
of the adjacent counties were called on at first for 
one half, and afterwards the whole of their militia for 
present defence. In like manner Gen^ Nelson was 
authorized to call on certain other Counties for present 
defence ; but it was meant that as soon as the pro- 
portions above mentioned from the counties particu- 
larly named were come in, all others should be dis- 
missed. I state this matter to you supposing you 
will think with me that the sooner 3'ou can begin the 
business of arranging your force on the plan origi- 
nally intended, the better it will be. As soon as the 
whole Militia of the Counties, not meant to be kept 
in the field, can be discharged we will send the act into 
those counties and have it carried into execution. 




Richmond Jany 15th, 1781. 

Sir, — I received some time ago from Major For- 
sythe, and afterwards from you a requisition to furnish 
onehalf of the supplies of provision for the Convention 
troops removed into Maryland. I should sooner 
have done myself the honor of writing to you on this 
subject but that I hoped to have had it laid before 
you more fully than could be done in writing by a 
Gentleman who was to have passed on other public 
business to Philadelphia. The late events in this 
State having retarded his setting out, I think it my 
duty no longer to postpone explanation on this 

You cannot be unapprised of the powerful armies 
of our enemies at this time in this and the southern 
States, and that their future plan is to push their 
successes in the same quarter by still larger reinforce- 
ments. The forces to be opposed to these must be 
proportionably great, and these forces must be fed. 
By whom are they to be fed ? Georgia and South 
Carolina are annihilated, at least as to us. By the 
requisition to us to send provisions into Maryland it 
is to be supposed that none are to come to the south- 
ern Army from any State north of this ; for it would 
seem inconsistent, that while we should be sending 
north, Maryland and other States beyond that should 
be sending their provisions South. Upon North 
Carolina then already exhausted by the ravages of 
two armies, and on this State are to depend for sub- 



sistence those bodies of men who are to oppose the 
greater part of the enemys force in the United States, 
the subsistence of the German and of half the British 
conventioners. To take a view of this matter on the 
Continental requisitions of November 4th, 1780, for 
specific quotas of provision it is observable that North 
Carolina and Virginia are to furnish 10,475,740 ps of 
animal food, and 13,529 barrels of flour, while the 
states north of these will yield 25,293,810 ps of animal 
food, and 106,471 barrels of flour. 

If the greater part of the British armies be em- 
ployed in the South, it is to be supposed that the 
greater part of the American force will be sent there 
to oppose them. But should this be the case, while 
the distribution of the provisions is so very unequal, 
would it be proper to render it still more so by with- 
drawing a part of our contributions to the support of 
Posts Northward of us ? It would certainly be a 
great convenience to us to deliver a portion of our 
Specifics at Frederick Town rather than in Carolina ; 
but I leave it to you to judge whether this would be 
consistent with the general good or safety. Instead 
of sending aids of any kind to the northward, it seems 
but too certain that unless very timely & substantial 
assistance is received from thence, our enemies are yet 
far short of the ultimate term of their successes. I 
beg leave therefore to refer to you whether the 
specifics of Maryland as far as shall be necessary had 
not better be applied to the support of the Posts 
■within it, for which its quota is much more than suf- 

1 7 8 [ ] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 4 1 5 

ficient, or were it otherwise whether those of the 
States north of Maryland had not better be called 
on, than to detract anything from the resources of the 
Southern Opposition already much too small for the 
encounter to which it is left. I am far from wishing 
to count or measure our contributions by the requi- 
sitions of Congress. Were they ever so much beyond 
these, I should readily strain them in aid of any one 
of our Sister States. But while they are so far short 
of those calls to which they must be pointed in the 
first instance, it would be great misapplication to 
divert them to any other purpose ; and I am per- 
suaded you will think me perfectly within the line of 
duty when I ask a revisal of this requisition. 



Richmond. January the 15th, 1781 

Sir, — I received some time ago from Mr. Forsyth 
and afterwards from the Board of War a requisition 
to furnish one half the supplies of Provisions for the 
convention Troops removed into Your state. I should 
sooner have done myself the honor of writing to Your 
Excellency on this subject but that I hoped to have 
had it laid before you more fully than could be done 
in writing by a Gentleman who was to have passed 
on other public business by the way of Annap- 
olis. The late events in this State having retarded 

' This letter was also written to the Board of War of Maryland. 

4i6 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

his setting out I think it my duty no longer to post- 
pone explanation on this head/ * * * 

I am persuaded your Excellency will think me 
perfectly within the line of duty when I ask a revisal 
of this requisition which shall be paid in Tobacco at 
20/ p hundred or its worth in paper money. If Gen- 
tlemen who have timber on James River above the 
Falls chuse rather to employ their sawyers under 
their own eye, and will cut and send to Westham 
or the fork of the River as they shall be advised 
Quantities of Plank fit for building it will answer the 
public purpose as well as if they sent their sawyers to 
us. In this case they must fix the quantity and time 
within which it shall be delivered, the worth of this 
shall be fixed on the principles before explained. 


Richmond. Jany 15th 1781 

Dear Genl. — I have never heard a tittle of the 
Enemy since your information that they were at 
Sandy Point the day after they left Westover ; nor 
is anything known at this place as to their subse- 
quent movements. As this want of intelligence might 
eventually be fatal, I have ordered an Express to be 
stationed at Bottom's Bridge, another at New Kent 
Court House, a third at Bird's tavern, a fourth at 
Williamsburg, a fifth half way between that and 

' The portion omitted is of the same tenor as the last two paragraphs of the 
preceeding letter. 


Hampton, and a sixth at Hampton. It will be easy 
for Mr. Kemp to throw letters from you wherever 
situated into this line and as each Rider will have but 
15 miles out and the same back, they may if neces- 
sary be put into motion every day. By the same 
means you may have communication with Hampton. 
Your business may probably put it out of your power 
to write so often, but hope that some of the gentle- 
men about you may be able to give us intelligence 
every day or two. 

TO JACOB WRAY. v. s. A. 

Richmond Jany 15th, 1781. 

For want of intelligence may be ascribed a great 
part of, if not the whole of the Enemy's late success- 
ful incursions to this place. They appeared in the 
Bay on the Saturday, no notification of it addressed 
to the Executive came to hand till 10 o'clock a.m. 
on tuesday. There did indeed on sunday morning 
come to my hands a letter which you were so kind to 
write to Genl. Nelson informing him that 27 sail 
had been seen in the Bay and that Commo Barron 
had gone to reconnoitre them more closely. But as 
it was not known whether they were Friends or foes, 
and we hoped more particular intelligence on the 
return of Commo Barron, none but the lower militia 
were called out, till the Tuesday following, by which 
two days were compleatly lost : which would have 
added so much to the collection of militia in this 
quarter as to have rendered doubtful at least whether 
the enemy could have got here. 

41 8 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

I mention these circumstances to show you the 
necessity of our being better furnished with intelli- 
gence of the Enemy's movements, and to apologize 
for my troubling you with the task of communicat- 
ing everything interesting through the line of ex- 
presses stationed at every 15 miles from hence to 
Hampton. One is to be fixed by Mr. Kemp at 
Hampton will set out on yours or Commo Barron's 
orders and deliver his dispatches to the next who is 
ordered to be stationed half way between Hampton 
& Williamsburg : the particular place I cannot in- 
form you, but the express may do it. I hope you 
will be so sfood as to undertake this trouble and to 
continue it so long as it may be necessary to keep up 
the line. 


Richmond. January 15 — 1781. 

Dear General, — As I suppose by this time you 
may have more men than Arms, and there are 
no more arms fit for use remaining in the public 
Stock, economy will require that the surplus militia 
be discharged. This measure is the more necessary 
as the law for raisingf new levies remains unexecuted 
while the militia are from the counties. I shall there- 
fore take the liberty of pointing out to you, as I have 
done to Baron Steuben, what particular militia should 
be first discharged. On confirmation of the intelli- 
p-ence that a hostile fleet had arrived we asked the 
advice of Baron Steuben as to the numbers which 


should be brought into the field : He advised 4000 : 
we therefore called on the following Counties for one 
fourth of their militia, which we expected would pro- 
duce the numbers as annexed to them, viz 

Halifax.... 247. Charlotte... 156. Prince Edward 142. Bedford.... 325 

Buckingham 162. Amherst.... 224. Albemarle.... 218. Fluvanna... 65 

Goochland. 145. Cumberland 102. Powhatan 71. Amelia 275 

Lunenburg. 169. Mecklinburg 212. Brunswick.... 325. Dinwiddie. . 175 

Chesterfield 164. Henrico.... 155 Sussex 175. Southampton 218 

■Rockbridge. 146. Augusta.... 344. Rockingham.. 219. Shenandoah. 216 

The amount (4650) was greater than the Baron's 
requisition because we of course expected deficiencies. 
The above were intended to be kept in the field for 
some time ; but some of these Counties were distant, 
we called on those in the neighborhood of this place 
at first for one half and afterwards for all their fight- 
ing men for present defence, meaning that as soon 
as those before enumerated should be in the field, 
those called for present defence should be discharged. 
In like manner you are authorized for the purpose of 
hasty opposition to call out certain counties, which it 
was likewise our idea to discharge on receiving the 
force which was to remain. Whenever, therefore, 
all your arms shall be taken up, should more militia 
come in we would chuse that you discharge so many 
of those Counties not originally called on, or of those 
which tho' originally called on have yet more than 
one fourth in the field. By these means we shall 
in time have in the field the militia of those particular 
Counties only which were first called on, and the 
other Counties being all at home we may proceed to 
send to them the law for raising levies in order to its 

420 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 


Richmond Jany. 15, 1781. 

Gentlemen, — I called on Mr. Anderson the writer 
of the letter to Capt Trot which you were pleased to 
enclose to me and desired he would explain the foun- 
dation on which he had written that letter. His 
explanation I now enclose you from which you will 
be able to collect only thus much that his application 
on behalf of Mr. Trot was utterly rejected and 
nothing said which could authorize him to suppose 
we should wink at his loading his vessel with Corn. 
He has trimmed up an answer for me of I only wish 
to be acquitted till I can be understood. I must at 
the same time acknowledge to you with candor that 
considering the neutral light in which Congress have 
placed the Bermudians and the extreme want of salt 
here, we have at various times permitted them to 
bring in Salt and exchange it with Government at 
the rate of one Bushel of salt for two at first and 
afterwards three of corn : and sometimes for To- 
bacco. We have been rigorous in allowing no more 
to be carried out than was procured by exchange in 
this way. You cannot be made more sensible of the 
necessity which forces us to this Barter, than by 
beino- assured that no further back than the Counties 
adjoining the Blue-ridge Salt has sold lately for from 
4 to 500^ the bushel. 



Richmond. Jan'y 16 — 1781. 

Sir, — Your favors of the 14th and 31st December 
remain unanswered. I have been less attentive to the 
communication of our progress in preparing for the 
Southern War as Baron Steuben who knows all our 
movements gives you no doubt full information from 
time to time. The present invasion of this State you 
have been before apprised of by the Baron. The 
very extraordinary and successful attempt of the 
Enemy on this place you will also have heard of. 
The enclosed paper containing a pretty exact narrative 
of it I take the liberty of transmitting to you. The 
Enemy, on the Baron's approaching towards Hood's, 
hoisted sail and with the assistance of a very fine 
gale which sprung up in the instant, they fell down 
the River in a very short time. When they came we 
were in a very fine way of providing both subsistence 
and men ; they have amazingly interrupted both opera- 
tions : the latter indeed has been totally suspended. 
I have just written to Baron Steuben so to arrange his 
force of militia, as by permitting those from the greater 
number of Counties to return home, to put into our 
power to have the law for raising Regulars carried into 
into execution. This his anxiety for a regular force 
will lead him to do with all practicable expedition. 

Your Bill in favor of Mr. St. Laurence is accepted, 
and will be paid as soon as the several Boards resume 
Business. When the departure of the Enemy, or in- 
dications of their fixed plans as to this country shall 

42 2 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

have enabled me to judge how far they will interrupt 
our succours to you, I will take the earliest Opportuni- 
ty of stating to you under every Head of your requisi- 
tions from us what we shall have a prospect of doing. 


(aBNER NASH.) V. S. A. 

Richmond. Jany 16 — 1781. 

Sir, — I am honored with your Excellency's favor 
of the 3d inst and am to thank you for your per- 
mission & countenance to our Pork purchases. 

The late invasion of this State by the Enemy 
should not have been so long uncommunicated to you 
by me, but that the very extraordinary movement 
they made was such in its nature as to allow little 
time to those concerned in Government to think of 
anything but the providing means of opposition and 
in the mean time with drawing everything from their 
power. From a fatal inattention to the giving us 
due notice of the arrival of a hostile force two days 
were completely lost in calling together the militia : 
a time which events proved would have added so 
much of our collection of militia as to have rendered 
doubtful their getting from this place. The winds 
favouring them in a remarkable degree they almost 
brought news themselves of their movements. They 
were landed within twenty six miles of this place be- 
fore we had reason to suspect they would aim at it. 
The little interval of twenty three hours between that 
and their actual [arrival] here was assiduously and suc- 
cessfully employed in withdrawing the public stores 


from hence and from Westham seven miles above this. 
This was so far done that our loss did not exceed 300 
muskets, about 5 Tons of Powder, some sulphur, 5 
field pieces, four pounders and some inferior articles 
of no o-reat account. The letters and records of the 
Executive were the greater part lost. They retired 
hastily to their shipping after 23 hours possession of 
the place. The interruption which they have given 
to raising men and providing subsistance is likely to 
be very injurious. We are endeavoring to get over 
this difficulty also as well as we can. Should any 
movements take place interesting to Your State I 
shall communicate them to Your Excellency as soon 
as known to me, the communication will be circuitous. 
Perhaps should they take Post at Portsmouth, you 
might think it expedient to establish a line of Ex- 
presses to the neighbourhood of that place. 


Richmond Jany 17, 1781. 

Sir, — I do myself the honor of transmitting to 
your Excellency a resolution of the General Assem- 
bly of this Commonwealth entered into in conse- 
quence of the resolution of Congress of September 
6th, 1780, on the subject of the Confederation.^ I 
shall be rendered very happy if the other States of 
the Union equally impressed with the necessity of 
that important convention, shall be willing to sacrifice 

• The resolution adopted Jan. 2, 1781, ceding to the United States the lands 
claimed by Virginia, northwest of the Ohio, On condition that the States ratified 
the Articles of Confederation. 



equally to its completion. This single event could 
it take place shortly would overweigh every success 
which the enemy have hitherto obtained, & render 
desperate the hopes to which those successes have 
given birth. 


Richmond Jany i8th, 1781. 

Gentlemen, — I enclose you a resolution of As- 
sembly directing your conduct as to the navigation 
of the Mississippi.^ The loss of powder lately sus- 
stained by us (about 5 tons) together with the quan- 
tities sent on to the Southward have reduced our 
stock very low indeed. We lent to Congress in the 
course of the last year (previous to our issues for the 
Southern Army) about ten tons of powder. I shall 
be obliged to you to procure an order from the board 
of war for any quantity from five to ten tons, to be 
sent us immediately from Philadelphia or Baltimore, 
and to enquire into and hasten from time to time, 
the execution of it. The stock of Cartridge paper is 
nearly exhausted. I do not know whether Capt. 
Irish, or what other officer should apply for this. It 
is essential that a good stock should be forwarded 
and without a moments delay. If there be a rock on 
which we are to split, it is the want of Muskets, 
Bayonets & cartouch-boxes. 

The occurrences since my last to the President are 
not of any magnitude. Three little rencounters have 

' Agreeing to waive right of navigation in case the interests of the United 
States demanded it. 


happened with the enemy. In the first General 
Smalhvood led on a party of two or three hundred 
Militia & obliged some armed Vessels of the enemy 
to retire from a prize they had taken at Broadway's 
and renewing his attack the next day with a 4 Iber 
or two (for on the first day he had only muskets) 
he obliged some of their Vessels to fall down from 
City Point to their main fleet at Westover. The 
enemy's loss is not known ; ours was four men 
wounded. One of the evenings during their encamp- 
ment at Westover & Berkeley, their light Horse sur- 
prised a party of about 100 or 150 Militia at Charles 
City Court House, killed & wounded four, & took as 
has been generally said about seven or eight. On 
Baron Steuben's approach towards Hood's they em- 
barked at Westover ; the wind which till then had set 
directly up the river from the time of their leaving 
Jamestown, shifted in the moment to the Opposite 
point. Baron Steuben had not reached Hood's by 
eight or ten miles when they arrived there. They 
landed their whole army in the night, Arnold attend- 
ing in person. Colo. Clarke (of Kaskaskias) had 
been sent on with 240 men by Baron Steuben, & 
having properly disposed of them in ambuscade gave 
them a deliberate fire, which killed 17 on the spot & 
wounded 13. They returned it in confusion, by 
which we had 3 or 4 wounded, and our party being 
so small & without Bayonets, were obliged to retire on 
the enemy's charging with Bayonets. They fell down 
to Cobham, from whence they carried all the Tobacco 
there (about 60 Hogsheads) and the last intelligence 

426 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

was that on the i6th they were standing for Newports- 
news. Baron Steuben is of Opinion they are pro- 
ceeding to fix a post in some of the lower counties. 
Later information has given no reason to beHeve 
their force more considerable than we at first sup- 
posed. I think since the arrival of the three trans- 
ports which had been separated in a storm, they may 
be considered as about 2000 strong. Their naval 
force according to the best intelligence is the Charon 
of 44 guns, Commodore Symmonds ; the Amphitrite, 
Iris, Thames, & Charlestown Frigates, the Fowey of 
20 guns, 2 sloops of war, a Privateer ship & 2 
brigs. We have about 3700 Militia embodied, but 
at present they are divided into three distant encamp- 
ments. One under General Weeden at Fredericks- 
burg for the protection of the important works there ; 
another under Genl. Nelson at & near Williamsburg ; 
& a third under Baron Steuben at Cabbin Point. As 
soon as the enemy fix themselves these will be brought 
to a point. 


V. S. A. 

In Council. January 19th, 17S1. 
Sir, — The invasion of our Country by the enemy at the close 
of the last Session of Assembly their pushing immediately to this 
place the Dispersion of the Public Papers which for the purpose 
of saving them necessarily took place and the injury done at the 
printing office have been so many causes operating unfortunately 
to the delay of transmitting you the Acts of Assembly which re- 
quired immediate execution. The principal of these, the Law 
for recruiting the Army, having been framed on the Idea that 
the Militia of the several Counties would be quiet at Home has 


been peculiarly retarded by the necessity we were under of call- 
ing Militia from almost every County. We have seized the earliest 
moment possible of discharging those of as many Counties as 
could be, in order that this important Law may be put into a 
course of execution. It is now enclosed to You. Your duty till 
the new levies shall be ready to march from the County being 
precisely pointed out by the Act, I shall take up the subject 
from that point only. New London, Staunton, Winchester, Fred- 
ericksburg and Chesterfield Courthouse are appointed for the 
rendezvous of the levies. You are at liberty to send them to any 
of these places, but as they are ultimately to proceed to Chester- 
field Courthouse, I would recommend to you to consider this in 
your choice of rendezvous. At each of these places an officer 
will attend from the tenth Day of March next for the Purpose of 
receiving them. You will send them under the charge of an 
ofiicer who being enabled by the Act itself to provide means of 
Transportation is hereby authorized to apply for subsistence to 
any Commissary Commissioner or other Person, Principal or 
Subordinate having Public Provisions in their Possession and on 
Failure to obtain a sufficiency in that way he is to impress it, 
giving certificates to the Persons from whom he shall impress it, 
and returning to the Auditors a List of such Certificates specify- 
ing the Party's name, Article, Price and Date. Let this Officer 
be furnished with a proper Certificate from you that he is ap- 
pointed to this Duty which he is to send to the Auditor's with his 
list that they may be satisfied with his authority. I enclose you 
two blank Calenders in which you will insert the names and 
descriptions of your levies delivered to the Officer who will 
be appointed by us to receive them as directed by the Act of 
Assembly : the one of these he will sign and leave as a Voucher 
to You, the other should be signed by yourself or the Officer 
delivering the men for you and left in the hands of the receiving 
ofiicer. On the close of your Draught I must desire a return of 
your Militia and as the Law obliges the Captains to make exact 
returns to you at every General muster, I am to require that 
from these you make always an exact return to the Executive, 
that we may have a constant knowledge of the actual strength of 
your Militia. Notwithstanding the requisition I made you six 

428 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

months ago for a return of your Militia you have not been pleased 
to coinply with it, an Inattention which cannot be justified on 
any principle of military Subordination and which cannot again 
pass unnoticed. A very dangerous practice having been intro- 
duced by the enemy of laying under Paroles the whole country 
through which they are at any Time able to March and thereby 
attempting to disarm its future opposition, has rendered it neces- 
sary for Government to take up and reprobate the Idea that any 
citizen may thus cancel his Duties to his Country. I enclose you 
a number of proclamations on this subject, and desire that you 
will put one into the Hand of every Captain in your County with 
orders to read it at the Head of his Company at every private 
muster during the present Year. 

Such is the present aspect of the enemy towards this Country 
that no Foresight can predict the moment at which your Militia 
will be called into active Duty. Let me exhort you therefore and 
through you your Officers and men to consider that moment as if 
now come that every man who has or can procure a Gun have it 
instantly put into the best order a Bayonet fitted to it, a Bayonet 
belt. Cartouche Box, Canteen with its strap, Tomahawk, Blanket 
and knapsack. Some of these articles are necessary for his own 
safety and some for his Health & Comfort. The constant exhaus- 
ture of the Public Stock of these Articles by calls from all Quar- 
ters renders it vain for the Militia to expect to be supplied from 
thence when they come into the Field, and nothing is so easy as 
for every man to have them prepared while quiet and at Home. 
The cartouche box with a leathern Flap, a wooden canteen with 
its strap and a knapsack of thick linen (the better if plaid) are 
what may be had in any man's family and there are few neighbor- 
hoods which do not afford artificers equal to the repair of a Fire- 
lock and furnishing it with a Bayonet. Let me then again to 
entreat you, Sir, not only to give out in General Orders to Your 
Captains that these preparations be instantly made but see your 
self as far as possible that your orders be carried into execution. 
The soldiers themselves will thank you when separated from 
Domestic Accommodation they find through your attention to 
their happiness provided with conveniences which will administer 
to their first wants. When you order them into service it will be 


proper that you order them to bring these things with them. Con- 
sider also the sending a waggon with every seventy five men as a 
standing rule and that the Officer who attends to lay in Provisions 
for the men on the road always return to the Auditors a list of 
the certificates he gives stating the name, Article Price and Date 
in separate columns. These are circumstances always necessary 
and as in the first hurry of an Invasion when it is necessary to 
write an infinity of Letters and give a multiplicity of orders, it is 
not practicable then to enter into these details, I wish now to lay 
them down to you as standing rules which may save the necessity 
of repeating them in future on every special occasion. I must 
request you to make diligent enquiry and search your county for 
any Public Arms or Accoutrements in the Hands of Individuals 
to collect them together and make report of them to me. 


By His Excellency, Thomas Jefferson, Esqr., Governor of the 
Commonwealth of Virginia. 

A Procla7nation. 

Whereas during the incursions which have been made into this 
and other of the United States, by the forces of his Britannic 
Majesty, a practice hath been introduced by them, unauthorized 
by the law of Nations, and attempted in any age, or by any other 
enemy, of seizing peaceable citizens while in their beds or em- 
ployed in domestic occupations, and extorting from them paroles 
that they will not, on pain of life and fortune, be aiding or assist- 
ing in any respect to the enemies of Great Britain ; which paroles 
such citizens have given sometimes through ignorance and 
other times with wicked design, while they enjoy all the benefits 
of Government to shift from themselves their just share of its 
burthens, and it is even believed that instances have not been 
wanting where they have voluntarily gone in to the Enemy and 
tendered such paroles ; and the Laws of this Commonwealth not 
permitting any Citizen thereof taken under such circumstances, 
' From Calendar of Virginia State Papers, i, 445. 



or otherwise than when in arms by order, of a proper officer, to 
enter into engagements with the public enemy which may with- 
draw from his country those duties he owes to it. To the end, 
therefore, that none may be induced to the Uke act hereafter, 
through ignorance of the Law either real or pretended, apprised 
of their nullity at the time of giving or taking such paroles or 
engagements, I have thought fit, with the advice of the Council 
of State, to issue this my Proclamation, hereby declaring and 
making known. That Citizens taken or yielding themselves in the 
manner before described are incapable by law of contracting 
engagements which may cancel or supercede the duties they owe 
to their Country while remaining in it, and that notwithstanding 
such paroles or engagements, they will be held to the performance 
of every service required by the laws in like manner as if no such 
parole or engagement had been entered into. 

And whereas some Citizens who have already entered into such 
engagements, may expect to withhold their duties under pre- 
tence of being bound in conscience, notwithstanding their legal 
disabilities to contract them, and it is inconsistent with the spirit 
of our Laws and Constitution to force tender consciences ; I do, 
therefore farther publish and declare, That all Citizens taken or 
yielding themselves in the manner before described, who conceive 
themselves under such conscientious obligation to refuse obedi- 
ence to the Laws of their Country, are hereby authorized and 
required, taking passports as hereafter provided, forthwith to 
repair to some of the posts, encampments or vessels of the forces 
of his Brittannic Majesty, and by surrender of their persons, to 
cancel such their engagements, and thereafter to do, as to them- 
selves and those in whose power they shall be, shall seem good, 
save only that they shall not rejoin this Commonwealth but in a 
state of perfect emancipation from its enemies, and of freedom to 
act as becomes good and zealous Citizens, and saving also their 
fidelity to the Commonwealth. And all Officers Commanding 
Forces either of this State or of the United States, who shall be 
nearest in their position to the said posts, encampments or vessels 
of the enemy, are hereby authorized and required, paying neces- 
sary attention to times, situations and circumstances, to grant 
passports to all such Citizens for the purposes beforementioned. 
Given under my hand, and the seal of the Commonwealth, at 


Richmond, this nineteenth day of January, in the year of our 
Lord One thousand seven hundred and eighty one, and of the 
Commonwealth the Fifth. 


V. S. A. 

In Council, January 20th, 1781. 
Sir, — The invasion of our Country by the enemy at the close 
of the late session of Assembly their pushing immediately for this 
Place the dispersion of the Public Papers which for the purpose 
of saving them necessarily took Place and the Injury done at the 
Printing Ofhce have been so many causes operating unfortunately to 
the Delay of transmitting you the important Act for which I 
now enclose you. In the mean Time the days of Execution so 
far advanced that I am persuaded they must have passed over 
before it can be received in many Counties, in this case the only 
possible Measure to be advised is to adopt the earliest days pos- 
sible. Could any legal scruples arise as to this there could be no 
doubt that the ensuing Assembly influenced by the necessity that 
induced them to press the Act would give their Sanction to its 
Execution though at a later Date than is prescribed. However 
the substance of the Act is to procure supplies of Beef Clothing 
and waggons. The Time of doing this is a Circumstance only and 
the Principle is sound both in Law and Policy. Substance not 
Circumstance is to be regarded while we have so many Foes in 
our bowels and environing us on every Side. He is a bad citizen 
who can entertain a doubt whether the Law will justify him in 
saving his Country or who will scruple to risk himself in support 
of the spirit of a Law where unavoidable Accidents have prevented 
a literal compliance with it. Let me exhort you, Sirs, should this 
Act come to Hand so late as to prevent your proceeding to its 
Execution by the Time prescribed, to have it executed as early as 
possible. No man can say this will be an injury to him because 
the Times were affixed to compel an early compliance. The delay 
of which some Days must rather be matter Indulgence. Persons 
will be appointed to receive the waggons & appendages to be 
furnished by your County who shall give you notice of the Place 
of Delivery in due time. 




In Council, January 20th 1781. 

Dear General, — I will send to Mr. Brown the 
Commissary the Paragraph from your letter relative 
to Provisions with orders to him to take measures for 
relief. At the same time I wish the Principal ex- 
penditures could be in Indian meal that the Flower 
might be kept as much as possible for the Summer's 
use. Majr Hollier has no authority to make ex- 
change Prisoners with the enemy. The enclosed 
Proclamation will shew you the Principles on which 
we approved to wit that a citizen shall be considered 
as a soldier if he were taken in Arms, embodied as a 
soldier, and acting under the Command of his officer. 
You will perceive that the circumstances are neces- 
sary to distinguish from a citizen engaged in his 
domestic or other Occupations. Any equal exchange 
made on these principles and approved by yourself 
shall be considered as valid. 

proclamation convening assembly.' 

Richmond, January 23d, 1781, 

By his Excellency, Thomas Jefferson, Esqr., Governor of the 
Commonwealth of Virginia. 

A Proclamation. 

Whereas it is become necessary that the General Assembly be 
clled together before the time to which they stand adjourned : I 
Have therefore thought fit, with the advice of the Council of 
State, to issue this my proclamation, hereby appointing the first 

' From Calendar of Virginia State Papers, I, 456. 


day of March next, for the meeting of the next General Assem- 
bly at which time their attendance is required at the Capitol in 
the Town of Richmond. Given under my hand & seal of the 
Commonwealth at Richmond aforesaid, this 23d Day of Jany. 
in ye year of our Lord 1781, & of the Commonwealth the fifth. 


ASSEMBLY. v. s. A. 

In Council, January 23d, 1781. 

Sir, — I am sorry after so long and laborious a session of 
Assembly, the Public exigencies should be such as to call for 
an earlier meeting of the members than was intended. A procla- 
mation has been this Day issued for convening you on the ist of 
March and tho' that alone was necessary in point of Formality I 
could not deny myself the apprising you by letter of those cir- 
cumstances which have rendered the measure necessary and which 
could not with propriety be explained in the Public Proclamation. 
Such is the load of Public Debt contracted by Certificates and 
such the preparations for the Summer to enable us to meet our 
enemies in the North, South, East and West, that before any con- 
siderable progress was made in paying the past and providing for 
the future, the whole sums allowed to be emitted were engaged. 
It became a matter of Certainty that in a few days we should be 
unable to move an express, repair an Arm or do any other the 
smallest thing tho the existence of the State should depend on it 
for want of money. It was impossible to think of hazarding the 
State in this condition through the months of February, March, 
April and probably May while we have an Enemy within our 
Country and others approaching it on every side. Information 
also from the General Officers brought us assurance that our De- 
fence could not be rested on militia not to mention other Circum- 
stances. Such we are assured is become their Impatience already, 
that they would give any consideration to raise Regulars rather 
than be kept in service themselves. Though the Commanding 
Officer has determined to reduce them to 2900. Infantry there 

VOL. II.— 28 



will be considerable Difficulty in keeping that number in the 
Field. Men and money therefore will be the subject of Your 
Deliberations. I make no doubt but some legislative aid may also 
be rendered necessary for the executions of the Acts for recruit- 
ing men and procuring Beef, Clothing and Waggons. The ab- 
sence of the militia from their Counties has thrown very great 
Obstacles into the way of the former and the latter was ingrafted 
on that as its stock. The destruction of one of the Printing 
Presses and the injury done the others has delayed the printing 
the latter Act with the other papers necessary to be sent out till 
it is become certain the Days of setting them into a train of exe- 
cution will be passed before it will be received. The zealous 
Citizen unable to do his duty so soon as was prescribed will do it 
as soon as he can, but the unwilling will find much room for ob- 
jection which the authority of the Legislature alone will be able 
to remove. Not apprehending that the Assembly when convened 
at so unusual a season will propose to go general Business, I have 
reason to hope that you will be detained here a very few Days 
only. Besides the general Dispatch which will ensure your 
punctual Attendance on the Day appointed let me adjure it on 
the ground of the Public Distress which will accumulate in the 
most rapid Progression should the meeting be delayed by Failure 
of the members to attend. 


Richmond January 25th, 1781. 

Sir, — I gave orders to Mr. Brown to send you a 
sufficiency of Flour to fill up any intervals which 
might happen between your supplies of Indian meal. 
We think the Stands of Arms you have directed to 
be purchased at Baltimore are a great Bargain if they 
be really good and will certainly find means of paying 
for them. The corn at Cumberland was Continental 


property having been delivered to Col. Finnie long 
ago. On the present invasion we had that with other 
Public Stores moved up to New Castle as a place of 
greater safety. The other stores indeed we meant 
to withdraw to other Places : but not the corn. 
However I learn that our Quarter Master has in 
distress for that Article been obliged to send for 
some of it for his Horses here, and we have lately 
ordered a considerable number of Public Horses too 
poor for service to be carried and fattened there ; by 
which means we shall save so much of it to the Con- 
tinent. We have determined to convene the Assem- 
bly on the first Day of March. The printer will 
enable us to send out the Laws which require im- 
mediate Execution this week. I make no doubt but 
by that Time you will have received either from 
their Counties or from Baron Steuben so many 
of the militia meant to be retained as will enable you 
to discharge the others. Indeed the Baron Steuben 
means to reduce the number originally intended to 
2700 Infantry which will enable him to send back 
those of a greater number of Counties. With Re- 
spect to the Paroled Men my sentiments are these. 
Had I unwarily entered into an engagement of which 
the Laws of my Country would not permit me to 
fulfill I should certainly deliver myself to the enemy 
to cancel that engagement and free my personal 
Honour from Imputation. Nevertheless if any of 
them chuse to remain and to perform freely all legal 
Duties, I do not know that Government is bound to 
send these people in to the Enemy. It is very dif- 

436 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

ferent from the Case of a Military Officer breaking 
his Parole, who ought ever to be sent in. We deny 
the propriety of their taking Paroles from unarmed 
Farmers. But as in any event the only justifiable 
Punishment of a Breach of Parole is Confinement, so 
should the enemy hang a single man for this Cause, 
we will instantly retaliate by hanging their Pris- 
oners in equal number. This may be declared to 
the paroled men who you say are ready to take 
arms. Mr. Granville Smith received yesterday a 
warrant for ^20000 for the contingent expences of 
your Camp, to be called out only on your order. 
As the money Press is not yet at work it will be some 
Days before he will get it. 

P.S. Mr. Brown just informs of your application 
for spirits. There is not a Hogshead belonging to 
the State, but very great Quantities in the hands of 
the Continental Commissaries. I have special Re- 
turns of upwards of twenty thousand Gallons deliv- 
ered them by the Commissioners of the Provision 
Law and no Doubt great quantities of which there 
is no return. As on actual invasions all reasonable 
expences are Continental you are undoubtedly au- 
thorized to call on their Commissaries or should you 
have a doubt Baron Steuben will clear it up. A Mr. 
Lyon one of those Commissaries at York can cer- 
tainly supply you. I would observe to you that 
Baron Steuben informed me in Conversation that 
Spirit would be allowed as a part of the Daily ration 
but only on particular occasions. 



Richmond. January 26th, 1781. 

Gentlemen, — I shall now beg leave to answer 
your Letter of the first Inst which enclosed a Paper 
from Baron de Arendt. Mr. William Lee was some 
Time ago invested with a special Agency from this 
State having received however no instructions from 
him of his having engaged any other Person to 
transact any Part of It, we are uninformed as to his 
Stipulations with the Baron de Arendt, If he has 
left the particular one for twenty five Louis un- 
filled we think ourselves bound to discharge which 
we will do in such Sum of paper money as may pur- 
chase that quantity of hard money in Philadelphia 
for there being no hard money here there is no fixed 
exchange. If you will therefore settle the Sum with 
him we will make the Remittance either In Money or 
by answering a Bill or otherwise as shall be most 
practicable. After a variety of Trials to effect the 
Cloathlng of our Troops and procuring of military 
Stores and failing in them all a particular Institution 
has been adopted here for those Purposes. Into this 
Channel all our means must be turned to enable it to 
be efifectual. Our situation is too well known to sup- 
pose we have anything to spare. It is therefore not 
in our power to enter into the commerce with Prussia 
proposed by the Baron de Arendt however desirous 
we are of opening a Communication with that re- 
spectable State and willing under every other Cir- 
cumstance to effect it by great Sacrifices were 
Sacrifices necessary. Should the subjects of Prussia 

438 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

chuse to adventure on Private Trade with our Citi- 
zens every Facility and encouragement in our power 
will be certainly afforded. As the Speaker sets out 
within three or four Days for Philadelphia and can 
so much more fully explain to you by words the steps 
taken for support of our Opposition to the common 
enemy, I shall decline answering that Paragraph of 
your Letter and beg leave to refer you to him. 


V. s, A. 

Richmond. January 29th, 1781. 

Sir, — Several matters of Public Importance resting 
on the Hands of the Executive to be transacted to 
the Northward we beg leave to avail ourselves of 
your Journey thither to get them settled being satis- 
fied they may be much bet-ter done on your verbal 
representations than by anything that may go in 
writing from us. The trade has been carried on to a 
very small extent between this State and the Bermuda 
Islands. This was begun under a resolution of Con- 
gress permitting the exportation of a certain Quantity 
of Corn from this State to Bermuda. We required 
the Bermudians to come for it and to bring a bushel 
of Salt in exchange for every two of corn. Our dis- 
tress for Salt increasing we continued the License 
and in the last Summer gave three Bushels of Corn 
for one of Salt. Some Tobacco also was allowed in 
exchange but few vessels (I think not more than half 

' Harrison was about going to Philadelphia as a sort of special agent of 
Virginia to the Congress. 


a dozen) have come on that business. Whether the 
number may increase or not I cannot say, but I think 
the Trade necessary and could wish its continuance 
without Umbrage to Congress or the French minister. 
A Trade with vessels reporting themselves as from 
neutral Ports but in truth as we believe from Ireland 
has also been winked at. This is more exceptional 
on the part of the States and their allies and less ad- 
vantageous to us. We have indeed received occasion- 
al supplies of Cloathing from them, but we might have 
bought on nearly as good terms in America, and there- 
by avoided risking the mischiefs which may attend 
the Permission of Irish Importations. Should our 
Commercial Agent be successful in his endeavours 
to supply our future Public wants, this powerful reason 
for tolerating the Trade will be removed. There will 
then remain no other Inducement to it, but as it will 
increase the quantity of goods imported into the State, 
but whether the Advantage be great or small we will 
willingly place this Commerce on whatever Footing 
shall be thought requisite for the Good of the States 
& their Allies. 

The removal of the Convention Troops was deter- 
mined on by the Executive on the invasion of this 
vState which took Place in the last Fall and was effect- 
ed as to the British Division about 800 in number. 
The Germans 1400 in number being thought less 
dangerous were permitted to remain till Accommoda- 
tions could be provided for them in Maryland. Con- 
gress having afterwards directed that they should not 
be removed and our Assembly that they should, the 

440 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

Executive are placed in a very disagreeable situation, 
we can order them to the banks of the Potomac, but 
our Authority will not land them on the opposite shore. 
Besides prohibiting the removal of those remaining 
here they have required us to furnish half the Provi- 
sions for those gone to Maryland. I beg leave to refer 
you to my letters to the Board of War and to Gov- 
ernor Lee on this subject a copy of which is furnished 
you from whence you will see the grounds on which I 
have remonstrated against this latter Requisition and 
on which I should have remonstrated against the 
former also but that I wish to avail myself of your 
more forcible representation in Person. 

A Mr. Patoun of Baltimore sent us some Cartridge 
Boxes, they were brought in a vessel of Mr. Braxton's 
to Annapolis, where the vessel being sold they were 
left and I have heard of nothing of them since. I 
must beg the Favour of you to get them brought on 
if possible. Any supply of the same Article as also of 
Cartridge Paper and Flints which the Board of war 
can send on are esentially wanting. 

Peret & Co of France sent us a quantity of Stores 
in a vessel called Le Comite she was taken on her 
passage retaken and carried into Rhode Island where 
on Condemnation the one half of our Part of her 
cargo has been decreed to us. I take the Liberty of 
putting into your Hands the Papers on this Subject. 
Our Delegates have been endeavouring to have them 
brought on hitherto without effect. The Salt indeed 
had better be sold there but the Arms, Clothing and 
other Articles are so much wanting that we should 

1 7 8 1 ] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 44 1 

be so much obliged to you to adopt an effectual mode 
of having them brought hither by hiring a trusty 
Agent to go and bring them in waggons attending 
them himself, or in any other way you find most prac- 
ticable and expedient. Congress being considerably 
indebted to us in the Article of Powder I lately wrote 
to desire from five to ten tons to be sent to this Place, 
it is essentially necessary that we send four Tons 
more to Fort Pitt and that it be there by the ist Day 
of March, the Statement with which you are furnish- 
ed by our Advances of Powder to the Continent will 
inform you how far we have a right to make this call. 
I must trouble you to procure from them at Baltimore 
if possible and if not then at Philadelphia the four 
Tons before mentioned and to send them under a 
trusty Person in waggons to Fort Pitt to be delivered 
to the order of Colo. Clarke or other Person act- 
ing under them the Residue or as much of it as 
can be grot should be brought here at Continental 

TO ' J. Mss. 

Richmond Jan. 31, 1781. 

Sir, — Acquainted as you are with the treasons of 
Arnold, I need say nothing for your information, or 
to give you a proper sentiment of them. You will 
readily suppose that it is above all things desirable 
to drao- him from those under whose wing- he is now 
sheltered. On his march to and from this place I am 
certain it might have been done with facility by men 

' Probably to George Rogers Clarke. 

442 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

of enterprise & firmness. 1 think it may still be done 
though perhaps not quite so easily. Having peculiar 
confidence in the men from the Western side of the 
Mountains, I meant as soon as they should come 
down to get the enterprise proposed to a chosen 
number of them, such whose courage & whose fidelity 
would be above all doubt. Your perfect knowlege 
of those men personally, and my confidence in your 
discretion, induce me to ask you to pick from among 
them proper characters, in such number as you think 
best, to reveal to them our desire, & engage them to 
undertake to seize and bring off" this greatest of 
all traitors. Whether this may be best effected by 
their going in as friends & awaiting their opportunity, 
or otherwise is left to themselves. The smaller the 
number the better ; so that they be sufficient to 
manage him. Every necessary caution must be used 
on their part, to prevent a discovery of their design 
by the enemy, as should they be taken, the laws of 
war will justify against them the most rigorous sen- 
tence. I will undertake if they are successful in 
bringing him off alive, that they shall receive five 
thousand guineas reward among them. And to men 
formed for such an enterprise it must be a great in- 
citement to know that their names will be recorded 
with glory in history with those of Vanwert, Pauld- 
inor & Williams. The enclosed order from Baron 
Steuben will authorize you to call for & dispose of 
any force you may think necessary, to place in readi- 
ness for covering the enterprise & securing the retreat 
of the party. Mr. Newton the bearer of this, & to 


whom its contents are communicated in confidence, 
will provide men of trust to go as guides. These 
may be associated in the enterprise or not, as you 
please ; but let that point be previously settled that 
no difficulties may arise as to the parties entitled to 
participate of the reward. You know how necessary 
profound secrecy is in this business, even if it be not 



RiCHMD. Febry. ist, 1781 

Sir, — I am much obliged by your Excellency's 
favour of Januy 5th. Joseph Shoemaker is a citizen 
of this State and been a active mischievous traitor. 
The dangers of escape on the road from Baltimore 
to this place, and from this place, where since our 
removal from Wmsburg no public jail has been yet 
erected, are so great as to induce me to suggest to 
your Excellency the trial and punishment under your 
laws, should he have committed any depredation 
within your State which they would punish capitally ; 
and in this case I will on intimation from your Ex- 
cellency furnish you with proofs of his citizenship 
authenticated in any way in which your Laws shall 
require. Should he not be amenable to justice under 
your Laws, or should he be acquitted on trial, I will 
on information thereof take immediate measures for 
having him received, & brought hither. 

I have been honoured with a letter from the Hon- 
ourable Mr Jenifer, President of your Senate and 
Mr Bruff, Speaker of the house of Delegates propos- 

444 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

ing that we should invite our alHes the French to 
take a post within our State convenient for the de- 
fence of Chesapeake Bay and desiring a communica- 
tion on the subject with your Excellency. The 
difficulties on this head will certainly not arise with 
us. Should our allies not have a certainty of obtain- 
ing and keeping a superiority of naval power in the 
American Seas, they will probably think any post on 
the navigable waters of the Chesapeake liable to 
loss. As a discussion of this matter with the French 
minister required full information to him of the 
various posts and grounds which they might think 
fitted for defence as well as for overlooking the Bay, 
by their conveniency to aid from the country and 
many other circumstances which might draw the cor- 
respondence, if on paper, to a great length I have 
thought it best to desire the Honble Mr Harrison 
speaker of our house of Delegates who set out for 
Philadelphia two days ago, to speak with the French 
minister on the subject and to give him every informa- 
tion which may be necessary to determine his opinion. 
I had during the last summer taken the liberty of 
sollicitinQ: from him some naval force to be stationed 
on our bay, and received hopes that it might be done, 
just when the enemy who are now within this State 
came into the bay. I am afraid the proof they have 
exhibited of the practicability of making inroads into 
our country when conducted with rapidity and aided 
by wind and waters, will rather discourage our allies 
from hazarding much in any situation which may be 
pointed out. 



Richmond, February 5, 1781. 

By His Excellency Thomas Jefferson, Esqr., Govn. of the Com- 
monwealth of Virginia 

A Proclamation. 
Whereas Congress considering that it had been the wise policy 
of these States to extend the protection of their Laws to all those 
who should settle among them of whatsoever nation or religion 
they might be, and to admit them to a participation of the Bene- 
fits of Civil and religious freedom, and that the Benevolence of 
this practice, as well as its salutary effects had rendered it worthy 
of being continued in future times : That his Britannic Majesty 
in order to destroy our Freedom and Happiness, had commenced 
against us, a cruel and unprovoked War, and unable to engage 
Britons sufficient to execute his sanguinary measures, had applied 
for aid to Foreign Princes, who were in the habit of selling the 
blood of their people for money, and from them had procured 
and transported hither, considerable number of Foreigners ; and 
it was conceived that such Foreigners, if apprised of the practice 
of these States would chuse to accept of Lands, Liberty and 
Safety and a Communion of good Laws and mild Government, 
in a Country where many of their Friends and relations were 
already happily settled, rather than continue exposed to the toils 
and Dangers of a long and bloody War, waged against a people 
guilty of no other Crime, than that of refusing to exchange free- 
dom for Slavery : And that they would do this the more especially, 
when they should reflect they had violated every Christian and 
moral precept by invading and attempting to destroy those who 
had never injured them or their Country, their only reward, if 
they escaped Death and Captivity, would be, a return to the 
Despotism of their Prince, to be by him again sold to do the 
drudgery of some other Enemy to the rights of Mankind : and 
that our enemies had thought fit, not only to invite our Troops to 
desert our service, but to compel our citizens falling into their 
hands to serve against their Country, Did resolve, that these 
States would receive all such foreigners who should leave the 
armies of his Britannic Majesty, in America and should chuse to 

446 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

become members of any of these States, and that they should be 
protected in the free Exercise of their respective religions, and be 
invested with the rights, privileges, and immunities of natives as 
Established by the Laws of these States, and moreover that they 
would provide for every such Person 50 Acres of un-appropriated 
Lands in some of these States to be held by him and his Heirs 
in Absolute property. 

I therefore have thought fit, by and with the advice of the 
Council of State, to issue this my Proclamation, hereby notifying 
more generally the said Engagement of Congress, and further 
promising to all such Foreigners, who shall leave the armies of 
his Britannic Majesty while in this State, and repair forthwith to 
me at this place, that they shall receive from this CommouAvealth 
a further donation of two Cows and an exemption during the 
present War, and their continuance in this State, from all taxes, 
for the support thereof, and from all Militia and Military Service. 
And moreover that they shall receive a full compensation for any 
arms or accoutrements which they shall bring with them, and 
deliver to the Commanding officer at any of the Posts holden by 
our Forces, taking his receipt for the same. 

Given under my hand and the Seal of the Commonwealth at 
Richmond, this Second day of February in the year of our Lord 
1 78 1 & of the Commonwealth the fifth. 


Richmond. Febry 7th, 1781. 

Sir, — The enclosed papers will sufficiently explain 
themselves to You. They were put into my hands 
by Colo. Mathews together with a requisition from 
Congress to furnish 14,492 hard dollars to pay the 
debts of our prisoners in New York. Were we per- 
mitted to send produce, we could do it for less than 
half of what the hard dollars will cost us, & I think 
such articles might be selected from the within, espe- 


daily when that of coal is added (which Colo 
Mathews assures me will be done) as would do neither 
good to the enemy nor injury to us. Coal sells in 
New York at six guines the chauldron. Colo. Mathews 
assures me that the enemy has never experienced the 
least inconvenience from a want of provisions since he 
has been in captivity ; that indeed before the arrival 
of the Cork fleet they began to be apprehensive, but 
he thinks they have now near a twelve months pro- 
vision. Taking this into consideration with the great 
alleviation of the maintenance of our prisoners which 
it would bring to us, perhaps you could negotiate a 
permission to us to send some of these articles to 
New York & Charleston. 



Richmond, Feby 8. 1781. 

Sir, — I have just received intelligence, which tho 
from a private hand, 1 believe is to be relied on, that 
a fleet of the enemy's ships have entered Cape Fear 
River, that eight of them had got over the Bar & 
many others were laying off ; that it was supposed to 
be a reinforcement to Ld Cornwallis under the com- 
mand of Genl. Prevost. This account which had come 
through another channel is confirmed by a letter from 
Genl. Parsons at Halifax to the gentleman who for- 
wards it to me. I thought it of sufficient importance 

' A letter to Washington of the same date and tenor is printed in Washing- 
ton's edition, i, 291. 

448 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

to be communicated to your Excellency by the Sta- 
tioned expresses. The fatal want of arms puts it out 
of our power to bring a greater force into the field 
than will barely suffice to restrain the adventures of 
the pitiful body of men they have at Portsmouth. 
Should any others be added to them, this country 
will be perfectly open to them by land as well as 


Richmond, Feby gth, 1781. 

Sir, — I received yesterday your letter inclosing 
that of Colo Dubuysson. It gives us great pain that 
we are not able to do what is desired by that gentle- 
man. I shall not rest this merely on the determina- 
tion of the Executive not to exchange Govr. Hamilton 
at all while matters on our frontier are situated as at 
present, a determination founded as well on the pos- 
sibility of real injury he would be enabled to do as 
on the apprehensions which the Western Country 
entertain of his eager enmity against us & influence 
with the savages. It is well known that the whole 
Line of Officers belonging to Virginia and North 
Carolina were taken some months before the captivity 
of Colo Dubuysson, and stand previously entitled to 
exchange on the just principle of regular rotation. 
Exchanges out of turn have already given great dis- 
gust, not only to those who have been passed by but 
to the officers in general who find themselves exposed 
to the danger of a like insult. I leave to yourself, 


Sir, to judge what would be the complaints were we 
to consent to the exchange in question, passing over 
a whole army whose officers stand first entitled ; these 
complaints would be more distressing as they would 
be founded in justice, and would admit no possibility 
of answer. The same reasons are good against 
parole exchange of such extent as the one proposed. 
I hope therefore that Colo Dubuysson will see this 
matter in its proper light and be satisfied that nothing 
but a sense of its being clearly against our duty pre- 
vents our concurrence in a measure leading so much 
to his relief and which is stated as eventually in- 
teresting to the family of Baron de Kalb, to whom 
gratitude would induce us to render every service 
reconcilable to that justice which is due to others. 


Richmond, Feby loth, 1781. 

Sir, — I now do myself the pleasure of transmitting 
you information on the several heads of your requisi- 
tions. I am sorry that full compliance with them is 
impracticable. Every moment however brings us 
new proofs that we must be aided by your Northern 
Brethren. Perhaps they are aiding us and we may not 
be informed of it. I think near half the Enemy's force 
are now in Virginia and the States south of that. Is 
half the burthen of opposition to rest on Virginia 
and North Carolina? I trust you concur with us in 
crying aloud on this head. 

VOL. II. — 29 


450 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

I sincerely rejoice with you on Genl Morgan's late 
important success. Besides the real loss sustained 
by the Enemy in the force they were moving against 
us, it will give us time to prepare for the residue. 
The prisoners taken on that occasion, I shall certainly 
take the liberty of handing on Northwardly thro' this 
State, for the reason for doing this I beg leave to 
refer you to the enclosed. 

Dr. Brownson received ^75000, equal to ^1000 
specie ; for the balance he must wait until the Assem- 
bly meets, I hope they will determine to make up 
their quota of men fully. I have the pleasure to in- 
form you that we have reason to expect during the 
two ensuing months, very full supplies of all neces- 
saries for our Army from France, on a contract we 
had made the last Spring. I hope too that their 
Escort is such as not only to render their entrance 
secure but to promise something further. 


In Council, Feby 13th, 1781. 

Sir, — Still having at heart the success of the ex- 
pedition at the head of which you are placed, we 
have obtained leave from Baron Steuben for Colo Jo 
Gibson to attend you as next in command, and of 
course to succeed to your offices in event of your 
death or captivity which however disagreeable in 
contemplation, yet as being possible it is our duty 
to provide against. I have further added my most 
pressing request to Colo Broadhead that he permit 


Colo Gibson's regiment to be added to Your force 
for the expedition, a request which I hope will be 
successful as coinciding with the spirit of Genl Wash- 
ington's recommendations. Colo Gibson is to go to 
Baltimore to see the powder conveyed to Fort Pitt. 
The articles which were to be sent from this place to 
Frederick County were duly forwarded a few days 
after you left us. I wish you laurels and health & am 
with respect &c. 


Richmond Feby 15th, 1781. 

Sir, — I have just received intelligence from Genl Greene that 
Lord Cornwallis, maddened by his losses at the Cowpens and 
George Town, has burnt his own waggons to enable himself to 
move with facility, and is pressing towards the Virginia line, Genl 
Greene being obliged to retire before him with an inferior force. 
The necessity of saving Genl Greene's array and in doing that the 
probability of environing and destroying the army of the Enemy 
induce me to press you in the most earnest terms, in the instant 
of receiving this to collect one of your militia and send them 

forward well armed and accoutred under proper officers to repair 
to the orders of Genl Greene wherever he shall be. By this 
movement of our Enemy he has ventured his all on one stake.. 
Our stroke is sure if the force turns out which I have ordered & 
without delay in such a crisis expedition decides the event of the 

Reflecting that it depends in a great measure on your personal 
exertions in effecting an active junction of your men with Genl 
Greene whether the Southern war be terminated by the capture 
of the hostile army or entailed on us by permitting them to fix in 
our bowels, I cannot believe you will rest a moment after receiv- 
ing this untill you see your men under march. They must be 
subsisted on their way on whatever can be furnished by any per- 
sons holding public provisions, or by impressing under the inva- 

452 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

sion law, returning to the Auditors lists of the certificates they 
give, and by taking provisions with them for which they shall be 
allowed by way of rations. 

This order necessarily interrupts the execution of the draught 
law ; it would be too oppressive on those spirited men who shall 
now turn out, to have that law carried into execution, when they 
should not be on the spot to act for themselves. I would there- 
fore advise you to postpone it until their return and I will under- 
take to lay it before the Assembly which is shortly to meet who I 
cannot doubt will approve of the suspension and allow the 
execution of the law at a future day. 

Should the approach of danger and your public spirit have 
already called any men from your County to the aid of General 
Greene they will be counted in lieu of so many of the number 
now ordered. 


Richmond Feb. i6th 1781. 

Sir, — I am very anxious to prepare for co-opera- 
tion with our allies and for providing for their sup- 
port. For ye former purpose measures are taking as 
agreed on this moment in a conference with Baron 
Steuben, for the latter we suppose Yorktown the 
most effectual to prepare as an assylum for their 
vessels. Colo. Senf comes down with instructions to 
point what may be done there in a short time. The 
Baron will send Colo. Harrison or some other artil- 
lery officer to superintend the execution of what he 
shall plan ; and I must resort to Your influence to 
take such measures as may call in a sufficient number 
of labourers with their tools to execute the work. 
Whatever you do for this purpose shall be approved 


by us. The county alone can probably furnish 

many hands. Those in the neck I trust will also be 


Richmond. Febry i6th, 1781. 
Sir, — I have with exceeding distress of mind received informa- 
tion that the service to which the militia of the Counties of Fred- 
erick & Berkely have been called Westwardly is so disagreeable 
as to render it probable that call will be very imperfectly obeyed. 
A knowledge that an extensive combination of Indians had been 
formed to come r n our frontier early in the Spring induced us to 
prevent them by striking the first stroke. The counties West of 
the Allegany were called on in the first place, and their numbers 
not sufficing it was concluded to make them up by a call on some 
of the Counties on this side of the Allegany. Those of Hamp- 
shire, Berkely & Frederick were deemed the most proper as being 
nearest t^ Pittsburg and farthest from the Southern war, the ex- 
pedition if carried to the greatest extent would end by the last of 
June. Should this expedition be discontinued, the savages will 
be spread on our whole western frontier ; in that case not a man 
can be brought during the whole summer from the western side 
of Blue ridge ; and what will be the consequence of bringing the 
army of Ld. Cornwallis and the army of Portsmouth to be op- 
posed by the lower Country only, I would rather the friends of 
their country should reflect than I foretell. We are all embarked 
in one bottom, the Western end of which cannot swim while the 
Eastern sinks. I am thoroughly satisfied that nothing can keep 
us up but the keeping of the Indians from our Western quarter ; 
that this cannot be done, but by pushing the war into their country; 
and this cannot be attempted but with effectual aid from those 
counties. This reasoning is simple, and the conclusion of it mel- 
ancholy. A hope is held out to us that an aid as effectual can be 
obtained from your County by the engaging volunteers to go in- 



stead of the militia. Trusting to this assurance and the zeal of 
your people which never before has failed us, I will so far throw 
our safety on them, as to revoke the orders for their peremtcry 
march as militia, and depend on their sending a sufficient number 
of volunteers. These volunteers must proceed according to the 
orders given as to the militia except that some extention of time 
must be admitted. This I leave to your discretion. Be punctual 
in advising Genl. Clarke & myself from time to time of your 
progress and expectations. 


Richmond. Feby 17th, 1781. 

Sir, — In the moment of receiving your letter of 
the loth I issued orders to the Counties of Washing- 
ton, Montgomery, Botetout and Bedford for seven 
hundred and odd riflemen, and to those of Henry & 
Pittsylvania for four hundred and odd of their militia. 
Yet my trust is that neither these nor the adjacent 
counties have awaited orders, but they have turned 
out and will have joined you in greater numbers than 
we have directed. The reinforcement from Cheserfd 
Court House cannot march these ten days. I shall 
be glad if you will call on the neighboring County 
Lieutenants for any succours which you may want, 
and circumstances forbid to be delayed. A minute 
communication of events will be very necessary as we 
wish as far as we are able to increase the opposing 
force, if that already ordered shall be insufficient. 
This change of position has thrown us into great 
doubt where to collect our provisions. 

Two days ago I received notice of the arrival of a 
64 gun ship, and two frigates of 36 each part of the 


French fleet at Rhode Island having yet had no 
communication of the views of the Commanding 
officer (Commodore Tilly) I cannot say to what 
measures this aid will lead. They are equal to the 
destruction of the British vessels, could they get at 
them, but these are drawn up into Elizabeth river 
into which the 64 cannot enter. 

P. S. Since writing the above we are told Ld. 
Cornwallis has advanced to the Roanoke. I am in 
consequence issuing orders to embody every man 
between this and that for whom a firelock can be 
procured and that they march to join you. 


Richmond Feby 17, 1781. 

Sir, — By a Letter from General Greene dated 
Guilford C. house Feby 10 we are informed that 
Lord Cornwallis had burnt his own waggons in order 
to enable himself to move with greater facility & had 
pressed imediately on. The prisoners taken at the 
Cowpens were happily saved by the accidental rise 
of a water course which gave so much time as to 
withdraw them from the reach of the enemy. Lord 
Cornwallis had advanced to the vicinities of the 
Moravian towns & was still moving on rapidly. His 
object was supposed to be to compel Genl Greene to 
an action, which under the difference of force they 
had would probably be ruinous to the latter. General 
Greene meant to retire by the way of the Boyds ferry 
on the Roanoke. As yet he had lost little or no stores 

45 6 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

or baggage, but they were far from being safe. In 
the instant of receiving this intelHgence we ordered a 
reinforcement of militia to him from the most con- 
venient counties in which there was a hope of finding 
any arms. Some great event must arise from the 
present situation of things which for a long time will 
determine the condition of southern affairs. 

Arnold lies close in his Quarters. Two days ago 
I received information of the arrival of a 64 gun ship 
& two frigates in our bay, being part of the fleet of 
our good ally at Rhode Island. Could they get at 
the British fleet here they are sufficient to destroy 
them, but these being drawn up into Eliza, river, into 
which the Sixty four cannot enter, I apprehend they 
could do nothing more than block up the river. This 
indeed would reduce the enemy, as we could cut off 
their supplies by land : but the operation being 
lengthy would probably be too dangerous for the 
auxiliary force. Not having yet had any particular 
information of the designs of the french commander 
I cannot pretend to say what measures this aid will 
lead to. 

Our proposition to the Cherokee chiefs to visit 
Congress for the purpose of preventing or delaying 
a rupture with that nation was too late. Their dis- 
tresses had too much ripened their alienation from 
us, and the Storm had gathered to a head, when 
Major Martin got back. It was determined to carry 
the war into their country rather than await it in ours, 
and thus disagreeably circumstanced the issue has 
been successful. 


The militia of this State & N. Carolina penetrated 
into their country, burnt almost every town they had 
amounting to about 1000 houses in the whole, de- 
stroyed 50,000 bushels of grain killed 29 & took i 7 
prisoners. The latter are mostly women & children. 
I enclose your Excellency the particulars as reported 
to me. Congress will be pleased to determine on 
Col. Campbell's proposition to build the fort at the 
confluence of the Holston and Tennessee. 

I have the honor to be, &c., your Excellency's most 
obedient humble servant. 

P. S. Since writing the above I have received in- 
formation which tho' not authentic deserves attention : 
that Ld Cornwallis had got to Boyds ferry on the 
14th. I am issuing orders in consequence to other 
counties to embody & march all the men they can 
arm. In this fatal situation without arms there will 
be no safety for the Convention troops but in their 
removal, which I shall accordingly order. The pris- 
oners of the Cowpens were at New London (Bedford 
Court house) on the 14th. 


Richmond Feb. 17 1781. 

Dear General, — The situation of affairs here & 
in Carolinea is such as must shortly turn up important 
events one way or the other. By letter from Genl 
Greene dated Guilford C. house, Feb. to Ld. Corn- 
wallis rendered furious by the affair at the Cowpens 
& surprise of George town had burnt his own waggons 
to enable himself to move with facility had pressed 

458 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

on to the vicinities of the Moravian towns & was 
still advancing. The prisoners taken at the Cow- 
pens were saved by a hair's breadth accident, and 
Greene was retreatincr. His force 2000 reo^ulars and 
no militia, Cornwallis's 3000. Genl Davidson was 
killed in a skirmish. Arnold lies still at Portsmouth 
with 1500 men. A French 64 gun ship & 2 frigates 
of 36 each arrived in our bay three days ago. They 
would suffice to destroy the British shipping here (2 
40. frigates & a 20) could they get at them. But 
these are withdrawn up the Elizabeth river which the 
64 cannot enter. We have ordered about 700 rifle- 
men from Washington Montgomery & Bedford, and 
500 common militia from Pittsylvania & Henry to re- 
inforce Genl. Greene, and 500 new levies will march 
from Chestfd C. H. in a few days. I have no doubt 
however that the Southwestern Counties will have 
turned out in greater numbers before our orders 
reach them. 

I have been knocking at the door of Congress for 
aids of all kinds, but especially of arms ever since 
the middle of summer. The Speaker Harrison is gone 
to be heard on that subject. Justice indeed requires 
that we should be aided powerfully. Yet if they would 
repay us the arms we have lent them we should give 
the enemy trouble tho' abandoned to ourselves. 

After repeated applications I have obtained a war- 
rant for your advance money ;^ 18,000 which I have 
put into the hands of Mr. McAlister to receive the 
money from the Treasurer & carry it to you. 

I am with very sincere esteem dr Genl. your friend 
& serv. 



Richmond, February 19th, 1781. 

Sir, — The prisoners in Albemarle were ordered to 
be removed immediately, giving them time only to 
pack their baggage, that it might follow them in 
Waggons. Those taken at the Cowpens which were 
at New London on the 14th inst. were likewise 
ordered Northwardly by the way of Staunton keep- 
ing above the Blue Ridge, while the Conventioners 
pass below it. These orders were issued at the same 
time with those for embodying the Militia and have 
been notified to Cono-ress and Genl. Washingfton. 

By a letter from Count Rochambeau to Genl. 
Washington, a Copy of which is transmitted me, it 
appears that some French Frigates were out a cruis- 
ing from Newport. — that two 74s and a Frigate 
were sent out by the British to take them, that a 
storm came on which drove one of the 74s. ashore on 
Montuck Point, and obliged the other to put back 
into Gardners' Bay dismasted, and the Frigate also 
to put back tho' without injury : and forced the 
French Frigates back to port, which they reached in 
safety ; that this accident had given the French 
Fleet a superiority ; whereon the Chevalr, de Touche 
was determined to send a line of Battle Ship, and 
two Frigates to cruise off the Capes of Chesapeake 
and break off the communication between New York 
and Charlestown. This letter is dated Jan. 9th. we 
are therefore to suppose the French Vessels now 
here to have come in consequence of the above and 
to hope they are in no danger. 

' From the Sparks MSS., Harvard College. 

46o THE WRITINGS OF [1781 


V. S. A. 

RiCHD. Febry. igth 1781. 

Sir, — I received your letter on the subject of the 
backwardness of the militia of Berkely & Frederic to 
proceed Westwardly, and had before received repre- 
sentation from the Counties. This circumstance was 
the more mortifying as we were informed from 
various quarters that should we persist in the order 
it would produce an open disobedience. Many cir- 
cumstances concurred to render it prudent to avoid 
this. The presence of two armies of the enemy 
within the state induced us to wish to prevent every- 
thing like commotion or opposition to Government 
in every part of it. As therefore the representations 
were accompanied with hopes held out of raising a 
respectable number of volunteers, the Board thought 
it prudent to accept of that offer. These two coun- 
ties were relied on for 56 men ; on view of this dis- 
appointment we obtained an order from Baron 
Steuben for Colo John Gibson with his regiment & 
Heth's company (about 200 regulars) to be added to 
your command : an addition of more worth of itself 
perhaps than the militia, more especially if any num- 
ber of volunteers should go. I hope too you will 
receive greater numbers from Kentucky than we 
counted on, and aids from the French settlements : 
we are apt to hope what we much wish, and perhaps 
this is my case. 

The enclosed papers give us real concern as they 
hold out reason to apprehend great abuses in the 

1 7 8 1 ] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 46 1 

Western quarter. I transmit them to you to have 
strict enquiry made (not by yourself for your time is 
otherwise better engaged) but by such persons of 
known integrity & character as you shall appoint. 
We do not know what to do with the bills of which 
Majr. Slaughter speaks, indeed I wish such an en- 
quiry could take place, and that the persons you 
appoint would give their sanction to every bill. 

The suggestions against the Gentlen who went to 
Kaskaskie under promise of availing you of its 
resources & strength, are of such a nature as to 
merit attention & delicate enquiry. I am sure you 
will keep your attention alive as to everything of this 
kind, and will use decision where decision is found 


RiCHD. Febry. 20th 1781. 

Sir, — I enclose you a report from Mr Ross of the 
cloathing provided and his prospect of further provi- 
sion. The procuring hats or leathern caps still 
appears desperate, so that unless some substitute can 
be thought of, I know not what will be done. There 
are no hats I am told among the cloathing come from 
the north. I wrote you that after having called cer- 
tain numbers from Washington, Montgomery, Bote- 
tout, Henry & Pittsylvania, I had called out all the 
Militia who could be armed of Cumberland, Pow- 
hatan, Chesterfd, Dinwiddle, Amelia, Lunenburg & 
Brunswick to oppose Ld Cornwallis. Prince Edward 

462 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

was not called on because we knew them to have 
actually marched. Mecklenburg, Charlotte& Halifax 
were so near the Enemy that we knew they must be 
in the field before any orders could reach them. So 
far the draucrht had been no more disturbed than it 
had been before by Arnold's invasion except as to 
the five Counties of Washington &c, first named — it 
is not in our power to anticipate the time of draught- 
ing in the other Counties as you propose. The law 
gives certain times for raising men voluntarily till 
the expiration of which no draught can take place ; 
for this reason we have wished to avoid as much as 
possible calling on the Counties North of James 
River, where the ^draught is as yet undisturbed, un- 
till we shall hear that Ld Cornwallis has actually 
crossed the Dan ; because that act will decide that 
he means to penetrate this Country : nevertheless if 
you think it advisable we will order militia to a cer- 
tain extent to be embodied on the North side of 
James River ; and I shall be obliged to you for your 
opinion on this head. 

I find by the enclosed papers which have passed 
between a Lieut Hare calling himself a flag & Capt 
Turberville that a vessel of the Enemy has come under 
very suspicious circumstances to Sandy Point. What 
was her errand, to whom addressed, or whether she 
had passports from any of the commanding officers 
at the posts in the neighbourhood of the enemy, are 
circumstances on which these papers can give me no 
information ; yet they appear material in fixing the 
character of the vessel. It seems improper that 


under the pretence of being flags their vessels should 
be allowed to penetrate our rivers to their sources. 
This matter being within your line, and depend- 
ing on usages with which you are better acquainted 
than we are, I wish to remit it altogether to Yourself 
to have done what is rio^ht, A communication of 
what you determine will oblige me, as I am to write 
to Genl. Nelson on the subject. I also transmit you 
an extract of the Genl's on the subject of the French 
ships here. I should think with him their cruising 
off the capes attended with safety to them, & great 
service to the American cause by intercepting the 
communication between N York and Charles Town. 
But whether at this crisis till Ld Cornwallis's move- 
ments are decided the one way or the other, it be not 
of very great moment to retain Arnold in his present 
quarters by the presence of a force sufficient to 
destroy his navy if he withdraws from it, I would 
submit to your better judgement. — On this too I 
will ask your opinion as Genl Nelson expects my 


Riciii). Febry. 2ist, 1781. 

Dr. Genl., — I received your letter of the i8th the 
night before last, and deferred answering it until I 
could confer with Baron Steuben, which I had the op- 
portunity of doing yesterday evening. He shewed 
me a letter from Monsr. Tilly from which, and the 
information of his aid who went down, we suppose the 

464 THE WRITINGS OF [17 81 

French squadron sailed on a cruise yesterday morn- 
ing. They will however be within our call, 8: there- 
fore we think it proper to go on with the preparations 
for enabling us to make an attempt on the enemy, 
and for affording an asylum to any of the ships of 
our Ally which may at any time come to us. I 
put into his hands the papers relative to Mr. Hair 
& he will give orders on the subject ; he seems to 
consider him as no flag, but a prisoner. As to Mr. 
Hair's calumnies on individuals of this State among 
whom I am one ; I consider them as honorable testi- 
monials ; it is their known practice to bribe whom 
they can, and whom they cannot to calumniate. 
They have found scoundrels in America, and. either 
judging from that or their own principles they would 
pretend to believe all are so. If pride of character 
be of worth at any time, it is when it disarms the 
efforts of malice. What a miserable refuge is indi- 
vidual slander to so glorious a nation as Great Britain 
has been. 

I spoke to Baron Steuben some time ago for a 
return of the numbers of militia from each County 
which have been on duty & how long. As militia 
duty becomes heavy, it becomes also our duty to 
divide it equally. I have waited for this to order out 
relief, which cannot be done on sure grounds without 
it. You will oblige me by having such a return made 
from your quarter as soon as possible. I am sin- 
cerely sorry to hear of your indisposition. Wishing 
it speedily removed. I am. 

-jf % 



In Council. Febry. 22 — 1781. 

Sir, — I had written the enclosed before Capt 
Richeson arrived. I transmit it open through you 
for your perusal I am very sorry that the men first 
called into the field have not been relieved : but has 
proceeded from the want of such a return as is men- 
tioned in my letter, and for which I applied some 
time ago to Baron Steuben, who has had hopes of 
furnishing it. You will readily be sensible that where 
any County shall have sent but half the quota called 
for, they have performed but half their tour, and 
ought to be called on again : Where any county has 
furnished their full complement, they have performed 
their full Tour, & it would be unjust to call on them 
again till we shall have gone through the Counties. 
Militia becoming burthensome it is our duty to 
divide it as equally as we can. Upon the receipt of 
such a return a relief shall be ordered : and in the 
mean time the arrival of the militia mentioned in the 
enclosed may enable you to permit those who have 
been longer on duty to return home. 

On the present invasion the favour was asked of 
Baron Steuben to arrange the commands on prin- 
ciples laid down by the Executive, being the same 
determined on Leslie's invasion. We have awaited 
the receipt of his arrangement to issue Commissions ; 
this alone is the reason why not a single commission 
has issued during the Invasion, I will take care to 
remind the Baron of the want of his report & in the 
mean time should any gentleman have the misfortune 

VOL. II. — 30 

466 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

to be captured not a moment shall be lost in sending 
him a Commission. The affair of Westover has been 
communicated to me so imperfectly that I am still 
ignorant of it. I know that a flag is detained at 
Sandy Point, and have heard of letters between the 
conductor and a person in his connection up the 
river : But their import I have never heard. I under- 
stand that I am particularly indebted to Mr. Hair 
for his eulogiums. Indeed I think them the best 
certificate of my whiggism did my country want such 
certificate at this day. 


V. S. A. 

In Council. Febry. 24th, 1781. 

Sir, — I have received repeated information that 
the nakedness of the militia on service near Wms- 
burg and want of shoes is such as to have produced 
murmurings almost amounting to mutinies and that 
there is no hope of being able longer to keep them 
in service. The precedent of an actual mutiny would 
be so mischievous as to induce us to believe an ac- 
commodation to their present temper most prudent 
and therefore send to Colo Innes a letter of which 
the enclosed is a copy, in the meantime it is out of 
my power to order reliefs on any fixed rule without 
such return as mentioned in the letter. As soon as 
I shall receive such a return new calls shall be made 
to replace the numbers you wished to have on the 
North side of James River independently of those 


from the Northern Counties who were meant to be 
free for other service. I must therefore trouble you 
to exercise your authority in such manner as to pro- 
duce me returns of the desired kind. This is the 
more necessary to be done speedily lest the same 
should begin to show itself in Genl Mulenburgscamp. 
You will judge from the temper of these militia how 
little prospect there is of your availing yourself of 
their aid on the South side of the river should you 
require it. I enclose you a copy of a letter from 
Colo Bannister, County Lieut of Dinwiddle. I have 
taken the liberty of referring him to you as to the 
arms, and the bearer who carries my letter, will also 
carry any orders you please to give as to them. The 
size of his detachment it seems will depend on the 
arms he can procure. 


Richmond. Febry 25 — 1781. 

Sir, — I yesterday received word from Colo Ban- 
nister that there were 400 stand of good Continental 
arms at Petersburg of which he desired 150. I wrote 
to Baron Steuben on that, and shall immediately 
write to him again to let him know your want, & I 
have no doubt but he will order on the balance for 
your militia : besides these, 600 stand passed by this 
place three days ago for Genl Greene's camp. I 
never heard a tittle of the movements of either army 
in the South since a letter from Genl Greene of the 

468 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

15th. Before that I on the information which your 
express brought me ordered out all the militia of 
Cumberland, Powhatan, Chesterfield, Dinwiddle, 
Amelia, Lunenburg & Mecklenburg who could be 
armed, and a fourth part of Washington, Montgom- 
ery, Botetout, Henry & Pittsylvania. I sent no order 
to Prince-Edward because I had your information 
that the business was already done : to Bedford we 
dispatched Colo Lynch who happened to be here to 
carry all who could be armed. Halifax & Charlotte 
were known to be so immediately under the approach 
of the enemy as that they must be out under the 
p^eneral directions of the invasion Law before orders 
could get to them. We determined not to embody on 
the North side of the James River till we should learn 
that Ld Cornwallis had crossed the Dan, because we 
still wished to interrupt as little as possible the execu- 
tion of the Law for raising regulars. That our intel- 
ligence might be perfect we got the favor of Majr 
McGill to go to Greene's camp & apprise us of every 
interesting movement through the line of stationed 
expresses. He has been gone a week & we have not 
yet heard from [him] which makes me apprehend some 
foul play on the road. I am the more led to this 
fear by a letter from Genl Greene to Baron Steuben 
having been opened in the same course of convey- 
ance and the state of Greene's force withdrawn from it. 
Genl Mulenburg has drawn close down on the 
Enemy's lines at Portsmouth — the French 64 gun 
ship lies in Lynhaven bay & the two frigates are on 
the cruise. We are strengthening in that quarter. 





(jean le gardeur chevalier de tilley.) 

Feb. 25, 1781. 
Sir, — I have the honor to forward to you the enclosed letter 
which accompanied others from Genl Washington & the 
Marques Fayette to the honourable Majr General Baron Steuben 
& myself. That there may be no disappointment in procuring 
the pilots required, I got the favor of Capt. Maxwell, naval com- 
mander to this State to proceed to Hampton to provide them. 
His knowledge of the service and of the properest Persons to be 
employed will I hope ensure our getting them. You will be 
pleased to advise him as to the number necessary. The com- 
munication between yourself and the Commanding Officer on shore 
I suppose to be at present safe & easy. If you can point out 
anything which is in my power to have done to render it more so, 
I shall with great Pleasure have it done. General Washington 
mentions that you had been so kind as to take on board some 
arms and cloathing on account of this State. Captain Maxwell 
is instructed to take measures for receiving them. I shall be 
happy to have it in my power to contribute by any orders I can 
give towards supplying your troops with provisions or any other 
necessaries which may promote their Health or accommodation, 
and in every instance to testify our gratitude to your nation in 
general and yourself personally for the aid you have brought us on 
the present emergency. 



Richmond, Febr. 26th, 1781. 

Sir, — I gave you information in my last letter that 
Genl. Green had crossed the Dan at Boyd's ferry and 
that Ld Cornwallis had arrived at the opposite 

'A letter to Washington, of the same date and tenor, is in Washington's edition, 
I, 296. 

47 o THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

Shore : Laree reinforcements of militia havino- em- 
bodied both in front & rear of the enemy he is 
retreating with as much rapidity as he advanced ; his 
route is towards Hillsborough. Genl, Green re- 
crossed the Dan on the 21st in pursuit of him. I 
have the pleasure to inform you that the spirit of 
opposition was as universal as could have been 
wished for. There was no restraint on the numbers 
that embodied but the want of arms. 

The British at Portsmouth lie close in their lines. 
The French squadron keep them in by water, and 
since their arrival as they put it out of the power of 
the Enemy to cut off our retreat by sending up 
Nansemond river our force has been moved down 
close to their lines. 


(nee MARY WILLING.) V. S, A. 

In Council. March ist. 1781. 

Madam, — I am sorry it is not in my power to send 
you the Law you desire having only one copy of it 
myself and that bound up in the laws of the Session 
of October 1776. at which it was passed. The de- 
scription of the offence which is the subject of the 
Act, is in these words — ' if a man do levy war against 
' the Commonwealth within the same, or to be ad- 
* herent to the enemies of the Commonwealth within 
' the same giving to them aid or comfort in the Com- 
' monwealth or elsewhere &c. &c. thereof be legally 


' convicted &c &c.' The situation in which you were 
placed by the landing of the enemy at Westover was 
undoubtedly difficult. Whether you may have been 
able to steer with Precision between the will of those 
in whose Power you were & the Laws of your 
country is a question on which the laws have not 
made me the judge. The letter which you mention 
to have written while the Enemy's fleet lay at West- 
over, being thought to contain the acknowledgement 
of an offence against the Commonwealth was put 
into the hands of the Executive officially and by them 
remitted to the Attorney General with instructions 
to proceed as the laws require. I believe it is his idea 
that these proceedings must be as for a misdemeanor. 
They will probably take place immediately under 
the directions of a late act which ordains pleadings 
in certain cases from Day to Day till final decision 
and I hope will furnish you with ample occasion of 
Justification. The flag having come under a per- 
mission of Baron Steuben given before the determi- 
nation to discontinue that kind of intercourse we 
referred the whole of that matter to him, save only 
that his promise having been to admit an identical 
Restitution of Slaves and the flag instead of that 
brincrinor a Compensation in Merchandize were of 
opinion and determined that this could not be ad- 
mitted to be received, as, allowing the same indul- 
gence equally to all, it would immediately become 
regular commerce. This was the only order or 
resolution formed by the Executive on any Thing 
relative to this Flag or to yourself so far as connected 

472 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

with her. Mr. Hare was thought to have conducted 
himself with great Impropriety, yet a desire to afford 
no colour of precedent for violating the sacred Rights 
of a Flae has I believe induced Baron Steuben to 
remit Mr. Hare & his vessel again to his Com- 

Tho' my office requires that I should be divested 
of private estimations yet I must be permitted to 
assure you that it will give me very real pleasure 
to know that the issue from this troublesome busi- 
ness is perfectly to your satisfaction. 



In Council March i. 1781. 

Sir, — It is with great reluctance that after so long & laborious 
a Session as the last I have been again to give you the trouble 
of convening in general assembly within so short a time and in so 
inclement a season but such was the situation of public affairs as 
to render it indespensable. 

The six millions of pounds ordered to be emitted at the last 
session of assembly, the four millions which the Executive were 
permitted to issue if necessary, and the money for the purchase 
of 15C0 hhds of tobo. estimated to be one million, one hundred 
& twenty five thousand pounds have been all dispensed in pai- 
ment of public debts, in present defence, and preperation for 
the ensuing campaign, as fast as they could be emitted : and 
the calls uncomplied with appear to be numerous & distressing. 

One army of our enemies lodged within our Country, another 
pointing towards it, and since in fact entered into it, without a 
shilling in the public coffers, was a situation in which it was im- 
possible to rest the safety of the state. 

' No journal of this meeting of the assembly is known to exist. 

1781] THOMAS JEFFERSO^. 473 

The invasion which took place on the close of the last session 
of assembly having necessarily called for the attendance of a 
number of Militia in the field, interrupted of course the execu- 
tion of the act for recruiting our quota of troops for the Con- 
tinental army. Sensible that this would be the consequence we 
endeavored to restrain the calls of Militia to as few Counties as 
possible, that the residue might proceed undisturbed in this 
important work. But such has been the course of events as to 
render indispensable subsequent applications to many other 
Counties. So that while in some counties this law is in a regular 
train of execution, in others it is begun and proceeding under 
great obstacles & doubts, and in others it has been wholly 
suspended. This last measure the Executive themselves were 
obliged to recommend or approve in some instances from a 
conviction that they could not otherwise draw forth the force of 
the Counties in the particular point in which that force was 

Accidents derived from the same movements of the enemy 
delayed the promulgation of the act for supplying the army with 
cloths, provisions and waggons until it became evident that the 
times of execution would be elapsed before the laws could be 
received in many counties. I undertook notwithstanding to re- 
commend their execution at as early a day as possible, not doubt- 
ing but that the General assembly, influenced by the necessity 
which induced them to pass the act, would give their sanction to 
a literal departure from it, where its substance was complied with. 
I have reason to believe that the zeal of the several Counties has 
led them to a compliance with my recommendation, and I am 
therefore to pray a legal ratification of their proceedings, the 
want of which might expose the instruments of the law to cavil 
& vexation from some individuals. 

These were the subjects which led immediately to the calling 
of the General assembly. Others, tho' of less moment, it is my 
duty also to lay before you, being now convened. 

As the establishment of your regular army will of course be 
under consideration, while amending the late law for raising 
regulars, I beg leave to lay before you a letter of the Honble 
Major General Baron Steuben on that subject, and the proceed- 

474 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

ings of a convention of Commissioners from the States of New 
Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode island, Connecticut and New 
York held at Hartford. As likewise a proposition from Colonel 
Spotswood for raising a legionary Corps for the defence of the 
State. Whether it be practicable to raise and maintain a suffi- 
cient number of regulars to carry on the war is a question. That 
it would be burthensome is undoubted yet it is perhaps as certain 
that no possible mode of carrying it on can be so expensive to 
the public so distressing & disgusting to individuals as the 

The approach of the british army under Ld. Cornwallis hav- 
ing rendered supplies of horses for the purpose of mounting our 
dragoons indispensably necessary for the reasons set forth in the 
inclosed extract of a Letter from General Greene, and it being 
apparent that horses, in the route of their march if not used for 
us, would be taken by them and used in subduing us, I under- 
took to recommend to General Greene the applying to the use of 
his dragoons horses so exposed, first ascertaining their value by 
appraisement, and beg leave to rest the justification of the meas- 
ure on the appearance of things at that moment, and the sense of 
the General assembly of its necessity. Could any further means 
be devised for completing those corps of horse it might have 
the most important effects on the Southern operations. 

I am desired to lay before the General assembly the resolutions 
of Congress of Feby 5 & 7. 1781. which accompany this, as also 
the representations of our officers in Captivity in Charles Town in 
favor of General Mcintosh. 1 likewise beg leave to transmit you 
the advice of Council for reforming the ist & 2d State regiments, 
the State Garrison regt. and regiment of artillery. 

Mr Everard having declined resuming the office of Auditor to 
which the General assembly had elected him, the Executive have 
appointed Boiling Stark esqr in his room to serve till the meeting 
of Assembly. 

Not doubting but that the General assembly would wish to be 
informed of the measures taken by the Executive on the invasion 
which happened at the rising of the last session of assembly, as 
as well as on the one lately made on our Southern frontier, I shall 
take the liberty of giving them a succinct State of them. 

Having received information on Sunday the last day of 


December of the appearance of 27 sail of Vessels in our bay, 
which whether friendly or hostile was not then known, we got 
the favor of General Nelson to repair immediately to the lower 
country with instructions to call into the field such a force from 
the adjacent counties as might make present opposition to the 
enemy, if it proved to be an enemy, according to an arrangement 
which had been settled in the preceeding summer ; waiting for 
more certain & precise information before we should call on the 
more distant part of the Country : and in the same instant 
stationed expresses from hence to Hampton. I took the liberty 
of communicating this intelligence to the general assembly on 
their meeting the next morning. No further information arrived 
till the 2d. of Jan. when we were assured that the fleet announced 
was hostile. We immediately advised with Major General 
Baron Steuben, the commanding Officer in the State, on the force 
he would wish to have collected, and in the course of the day 
prepared letters calling together one fourth of the Militia from 
the Counties whose term it was to come into service, or whom 
vacinity rendered it expedient to call on. viz : Brunswick, Meck- 
lenburg, Lunenburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Cumberland, Pr Edward, 
Charlotte, Halifax, Bedford, Buckingham, Henrico, Chesterfield, 
Dinwiddie, Sussex, Southampton, Goochl'd, Fluvanna, Alber- 
marle, Amherst, Rockbridge, Augusta, Rockingham & Shanan- 
doah amounting to 4650 men and directing them not to wait to 
be embodied in their Counties but to come in detached parties 
as they could be collected. I at the same time required the 
Counties of Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Chesterfield, Pow- 
hatan, Cumberland, Dinwiddie cSc Amelia to send the half of 
their militia intending to discharge what should be over their 
equal proportion as soon as those from the more distant counties 
should arrive, and in the morning of the 4th. finding the enemy 
were coming up James river I called for every man able to bear 
arms from the Counties Henrico, Goochland, Powhatan, Chester- 
field & Dinwiddie, nevertheless so rapid were the movements of 
the enemy and so favorable to them the circumstances of wind & 
tide that they were able to penetrate to this place and VVcstham 
on the 5th. to destroy what iniblic stores we had not been able to 
get away, to burn the public buildings at Westhani (!v some oc- 
cupied by the public at this place and to retire to their shipping 

47^ THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

before such a force had assembled as was sufficient to approach 
him. I have the pleasure however to inform you that we were 
enabled to withdraw almost the whole of the public Stores so as 
to render our losses in that article far less than might have been 
expected from the rapidity of the movements of the enemy and 
the difficulty of procuring suddenly any considerable number of 
waggons and vessels. 

General Nelson having collected and drawn towards the enemy 
a body of Militia on the North, and Baron Steuben having done 
the same on the South side of the river, the enemy withdrew 
making descents & committing depredations at places till they 
reached Portsmouth, where they have since remained environed 
by the Militia of this State and of North Carolina. 

On receiving intelligence of the advance of the British army 
under Ld. Cornwallis through N. Carolina, we directed one fourth 
of the militia of Pittsylvania, Henry, Montgomery, Washington 
and Botetourt to march immediately to reinforce General Greenes 
army. But learning very soon after that the enemy were already 
arrived at or very near the Dan river we ordered out all the 
Militia who had arms or for whom arms could be procured of the 
Counties of Lunenburg, Brunswick, Amelia, Dinwiddie, Chester- 
field, Powhatan and Cumberland. Colonel Lynch who happened to 
be here when the intelligence was received, was instructed to carry 
on immediately the Militia of Bedford : we at the same instant 
received notice that the Militia of Prince Edward & Mecklen- 
burg were already embodied and we knew that the Counties of 
Halifax & Charlotte to be so immediately under the approach of 
the enemy as that they must be embodied under the invasion law 
before our orders could reach them. The Counties below these 
on the South side of James river we thought it expedient to leave 
as a barrier against the enemy within Portsmouth. The very 
rapid approach of the enemy obliged us in this instance to dis- 
regard that regular rotation of duty which we wish to observe in 
our calls on the several Counties, and to summon those into the 
field which had Militia on duty at the very time. However the 
several services of these as well as of the other Counties shall be 
kept in view and made as equal as possible in the course of 
general service. 



V. S. A. 

Richmond. March 2d 1781. 

Sir, — I was two days ago honoured with your 
letter and that of General Washington on the same 
subject ; I immediately transmitted by Express the 
one acompanying it to the Commanding officer of 
the Naval Force of his Christian Majesty in our bay 
and took measures for providing pilots. Baron 
Steuben will communicate to you the arrangements 
he proposes, which I shall have the pleasure of for- 
warding with every aid in my power. I hope that 
when you shall arrive at the point of action every 
Thing will be found in readiness. I think the pros- 
pect flattering of lopping off this Branch of the British 
Force and of relieving the Southern Operations by 
pointing all their Efforts to one object only. The 
relief of this State being the most immediate effect 
of the enterprize it gives me great pleasure that we 
shall be so far indebted for it to a nobleman who has 
already so much endeared himself to the citizens of 
these States by his past Exertions and the very 
effectual aids he has been the means of procuring 
them. I have the honor to be with sentiments of the 
most perfect gratitude and respect, Sir, Your &c. 



In Council. March 3d 17S1. 
Sir, — It is thought that the present situation of the enemy in 
this state affords an opportunity of undertaking some military 
operations of Importance. To enable the Commanding officer to 

478 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

carry them on an additional force on the water is necessary. 
There are in James &: Appomatox Rivers vessels of private 
property suited and sufficient for the purpose as is believed. 
I shall be glad to have the sanction of the General Assembly 
if they approve of it for impressing such vessels, their tackle &c. 
Crews for this particular purpose and for short time only, a 
measure which I hope would not be disagreeable to the owners 
if their vessels be insured with whatever they may have on Board 
and a reasonable pay allowed. An immediate determination 
would be necessary if the measure is approved. 


In Council March 3d 1781. 

Sir, — I have received your letter wherein is this 
paragraph " the sum indeed mentioned in your Ex- 
cellency's letter is excessive and I am not surprised 
it should be so, when I find by a State of your affairs 
sent to General Greene you have magnifyed the esti- 
mate in one article ten fold and perhaps the same 
circumstance attends the estimation on some of the 
other articles. I estimated for fifty thousand Bushells 
of grain ; in your Excellency's State to General 
Greene it is called five hundred thousand. I would 
be glad the Executive would revise their estimation 
and perhaps after correcting those errors &c. &c." 

I trust you would have been more choice in your 
terms had you revised the estimate yourself as recom- 
mended to us. I send you a copy of it wherein you 
will find the quantity of corn or oats expressed in 
these figures and letters ' 500,000 Bushels ' in a 
former estimate given in some days or perhaps Weeks 
before this. The quantity required was ' for 2326 
draft horses and 779 saddle horses till the ist of 


August was 282,490 Bushels.' I did not therefore 
magnify the Article to General Greene and you are 
now speaking of 50,000 Bushels as the quantity re- 
quired shows that I had reason to estimate to the 
General the necessity of a new calculation on the 
true number of horses connected with the Southern 
Army and the proportion of this, which on view of 
actual circumstances we ought to furnish. I believe 
the estimate of 50,000 bushels to be as far wrong as 
that of 500,000. We shall be governed by neither 
but will furnish as much as we shall be able. It will 
probably be short of the middle quantity. Should 
you have represented this article to General Greene 
to have been magnified by us, I shall expect from 
your Justice that you will be equally ready to correct 
as to commit an error & that you will take the trouble 
to inform him that I had not been so deficient in re- 
spect either to him or myself as to magnify things of 
which I undertook to give him representation. Major 
Claiborne had the half million of Pounds which we 
promised of the late emission. When the Treasury 
is replenished he shall again have due Proportion to 
enable him to procure such Part of the Estimate as 
he thinks proper. 



In Council. March 3d 1781 

Gentlemen, — I had the honor of receiving your 
joint letter of the 14th ult. I assure you that we 
have been so very far from entertaining an idea of 
-witholding succours from you on account of the 

48o THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

invasion of our State that it had been determined 
that the regular Troops raised & not at that time 
marched should nevertheless proceed to your assist- 
ance & that we would oppose the Army in our own 
country with militia. For the same reasons we still 
mean that the new Levies now raising and which will 
be rendezvoused mostly within the present month, 
shall be marched on to your assistance, being con- 
vinced that that is the only permanent and effective 
aid we can give you. Militia do well for hasty enter- 
prises, but cannot be relied on for lengthy service 
and out of their own County. 

I am truly sorry that it is out of my power to fur- 
nish you with a single stand of arms : those we sent 
the last year for the use of your State and in the 
hands of our own militia made a very considerable 
proportion of our whole stock. Three successive in- 
vasions since have obliged us so often to arm large 
bodies of militia and on every issue of arms to militia 
the loss is great. We are now unable to do more 
than to arm the Force lying at Portsmouth. The 
want of arms was the only circumstance which re- 
strained the numbers lately collected against Ld 

I shall be happy to give you every proof which 
shall be in our Power of the Cordiality & zeal with 
which to aid you under every Difficulty. Circum- 
stanced Abilities unhappily render these aids much 
less than we are disposed to make them to which cir- 
cumstance I beg you to ascribe whatever we fall short 
of your actual Wants. 




Richmond, March 6th, 1781. 

Sir, — I had the honor of receiving your Excel- 
lency's Favour of February 27th and had just before 
received the resolutions of Congress of February 20th 
which were the subject of the Letter. 

I think that we ought not to expect any Co-opera- 
tion in this business from North Carolina and that 
we should be disappointed were we to expect it. A 
State in which are several different Armies of Foes 
and of friends as destructive from necessity as Foes, 
which has been consumed by their ravages near a 
twelvemonth is not in a condition to give but to ex- 
pect assistance. It must be evident that from the 
presence of our Armies in that state she must furnish 
more than her quota for supplies, because she makes 
up the failures of all other states ; for on the Failures 
of supply the army will not go to take from the State 
failing, but takes its necessary subsistence from that 
in which you are. I think then that of the States 
named in the resolution of Congress the object of 
the resolution rest truly on Delaware, Maryland, and 
Virginia and I shall be very happy to concur with 
them in such equal measures as will effect the in- 
tentions of Congress. I do not apprehend it was 
intended by your Excellency when you proposed to 
deposit your quota of Specifics at Alexandria that the 
Burthen of transporting it thence to North Carolina 
should be left on us solely, because as on the same 
plan we should be entitled to deliver our quota on 

482 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

our Southern boundary which would bring up our 
share of burthen to an equality of yours : were we 
moreover to transport your quota and that of Dela- 
ware across our Country it would be so much more 
than equality. I take the liberty of mentioning this 
because your Excellency's proposition has been I 
think misunderstood in this particular. The desire of 
Cono-ress that we should settle an arranwment for 
procuring supplies for the Southern Army in the 
states most convenient for replacing those supplies 
from other States and for transporting the whole. All 
this supposes a joint concern, I should think there- 
fore it ought to be executed jointly, or if divided that 
the division of the whole, that is of the procuring 
supplies in one place replacing them by others and 
transporting both should be equal, by which I mean 
proportioned to our abilities as rated in the Conti- 
nental scale. This may be done in several different 
ways : ist, by dividing among us the line of transpor- 
tation into such parts as when combined with the 
quantity to be transported along each part will pro- 
duce a total duly proportioned between us ; 2d, by 
putting into the hands of a Quarter Master due 
Proportions of money or means of Transportation to 
be by him employed in carrying on our specifics 
from their respective States ; 3d, For each State to 
appoint its own Agent & to procure the quota of 
specifics as near as they can to the Army repla- 
cing their money by sale of such specifics as 
might be raised within the State by Taxation. The 
first and second modes are liable to this objection 


that the transportation will cost very considerably 
more than would purchase the articles in the vicini- 
ties of the Army. Should these nevertheless or any 
other mode which can be thought to be more agree- 
able to your Excellency and the President of Dela- 
ware we shall be ready at any time to proceed to 
settle the arrangement, or as the settlement of it by 
way of letter might draw it to a great length, I would 
propose to refer it to be done by ye Delegates from 
the respective States in Congress. Should the third 
mode suggested above be preferred as it would be 
carried into separate Execution no reference would 
be requisite. 


Richmond, March 7th, 1781. — 8 oclk, p.m. 

Sir, — The enclosed came to hand this moment, as 
I make no doubt it communicates what was men- 
tioned in a letter from the Marquis to me received at 
the same time, I shall not trouble you with it. Scows 
which the Marquis desires for the transportation of 
cannon, cannot venture into the wide waters over which 
they will have to be transported, as I apprehend. 
Flats (which abound in York River) are the best 
vessels for this purpose as I am informed. You may 
have the best information on this head at York, and 
I must trouble you to order Flats, or, whatever other 
vessels will best answer to be procured. The Mar- 
quis is very anxious to have the Works at York put 

' From a copy in the Sparks MSS., Harvard College. 

484 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

into proper order. I hope Genl. Nelson's influence 
may have enabled him to procure hands for this busi- 
ness. The Four Battery Pieces with their Carriages, 
and one Mortar with its bed are got on board to-day. 
The other Mortar, without a bed; will be on board 
this evening, with 6000 lb. of powder, and they will 
fall down to Hoods, where the armed vessels were 
directed to, there to await your orders. We found 
that there were iron beds at Cumberland for the 
Mortars ; these I ordered down with the shells which 
were to go thence. — ^1000 lb of powder set out for 
York this morning : by a letter from Genl. Weedon. 
I find the numbers he will actually bring will be but 
about 700. Capt Smith gave me hopes that he 
could raise 30 horsemen, but did not seem positive ; 
I have not heard from him lately. 


V. S. A. 

Richmond March 8th 1781. 

Sir, — I had the pleasure of receiving last night 
your letter of the 3d instant and of learning of your 
arrival at the Head of Elk three days sooner than 
General Washington had given us reason to expect. 
In the mean time I hope you will have received my 
answer to your first letter which I forwarded by 
Express to the Head of Elk, and which is of greater 
importance a letter from Baron Steuben who com- 
mands in this State, explaining to you what he 


The number of militia desired by the Baron will 
be provided, tho not quite so early as had been pro- 
posed, so that your delays at the Head of Elk will 
not produce any inconvenience. Arnold's retreat is 
at this time cut off by land. Provisions and arms for 
the Troops are in readiness and the Quartermasters 
are exerting themselves to get horses. Their exer- 
tions are slow and doubtful. Oxen I apprehend 
must be used in some measure for the artillery. We 
have no heavy field artillery mounted. Four batter- 
ing cannon (French 18 lbs) with two 12 Inch Mortars 
fall down from this place this evening. Scows I am 
afraid cannot be used for the Transportation of your 
cannon on the wide waters where your operations 
will be carried on. We shall endeavour to procure 
other vessels the best we can. The total destruction 
of our Trade by the Enemy has put it out of our 
Power to make any great Collection of Boats. Some 
armed vessels of public & some of private property 
are held in readiness to cooperate, but as they are in 
James River they cannot venture down 'til the com- 
mand of the Water is taken from the Enemy. Baron 
Steuben is provided with the most accurate drawings 
we have of the vicinities of Portsmouth : they are 
from actual survey of the land, and as to information 
of the navigation the most authentick will be ob- 


tained from the pilots in that neighborhood, ten of 
the best of which are provided. I shall continue to 
exert my best endeavours to have in readiness what 
yet remains to be done, and shall with great pleasure 
meet your desires on this important business, and see 

486 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

that they be complied with as far as our condition will 
render practicable. On this and every other occasion 
I will take the liberty of begging the freest Com- 
munications with you. 



Richmond March 8, 1781. 

Sir, — I had the pleasure of receiving a Letter from 
General Greene dated High Rock ford february 29 
(probable March i) who informs me that on the 
night of the 24th Colo McCall surprised a subaltern's 
guard at Hart's Mill, killed 8 and wounded and took 
9 prisoners, and that on the 25th Gen. Pickens and 
Lieutenant Colo Lee routed a body of near 300 
tories on the Haw river, who were in arms to join 
the British army, killed upwards of 100 and wounded 
most of the rest, which had had a very happy effect 
on the disaffected in that country. 

By a letter from Major Magill an officer of this 
state whom I had sent to Genl Greene's headquarters 
for the purpose of giving us regular intelligence 
dated Guilford county March 2d. I am informed that 
Ld Cornwallis on his retreat erected the british 
standard at Hillsborough, that a number of dis- 
affected under the command of Colo Piles were re- 
sorting to it when they were intercepted b}' Genl 
Pickens and Lt Colo. Lee as mentioned by General 
Greene and that their commanding officer was among 

' A letter to Washington of the same date and tenor is in Washington's 
edition, I, 297. 


the slain, that Lord Cornwallis after destroying 
everything he could at Hillsborough moved down 
the Haw river that Genl. Greene was within six 
miles of him, that our superiority in the goodness 
tho not in the number of our cavalry prevented the 
enemy from moving with rapidity or foraging. 
Having desired Major Magill to be particular in 
informing me what corps of militia from this state 
joined General Greene he accordingly mentions that 
700 under General Stevens and 400 from Botetourt 
had actually joined General Greene, that Colo Camp- 
bell was to join him that day with 600 and that 
Colo Lynch with 300 from Bedford were shortly 
expected ; the last three numbers being riflemen. 
Besides these mentioned by Major Magill, Genl Law- 
son must before that time have crossed Roanoke 
with a body of Militia the number of which has not 
been stated to me. Report makes them 1000 but I 
suppose the number to be exaggerated. 400 of our 
new levies left Chesterfield court house on the 25th 
february and probably would cross the Roanoke 
about the first or second of March. 

I was honoured with your Excellency's letter of 
Feb. 21 within seven days after its date. We have 
accordingly been making every preparation on our 
part which we were able to make. The militia pro- 
posed to operate will be upwards of 4000 from this 
state and 1000 or 1200 from Carolina, said to be 
under Genl Gregory. The enemy are at this time 
in a great measure blockaded by land, there being a 
force on the east side of Elizabeth river. Tho they 

488 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

have a free exit from the EHzabeth river, they suffer 
for provisions, as they are afraid to venture far lest 
the french Squadron should be in the neighbourhood 
and come on them. Were it possible to block up 
the river, a little time woud suffice to reduce them, 
by want & desertions would be more sure in its 
event than an attempt by storm. I shall be very 
happy to have it in my power to hand you a 
favorable account of these two armies in the South. 



Ix Council. March 9th, 1781. 
Sir, — I think it my duty to communicate to the General As- 
sembly the enclosed papers giving information of the refusal of 
considerable numbers of militia within certain Counties to come 
into the Field and the departure of some others in Defiance with 
their arms. The crisis at which these instances of Disobedience 
to the laws have appeared may bring on peculiar consequences. 
I have taken the liberty of mentioning it to the General Assembly 
as it may perhaps suggest to them some amendments of the In- 
vasion Law, or as they might wish to advise the proper measures 
to be taken on the present occasion. 


In Council. March loth, 1781. 

Sir, — I received your favour of the 8th instant and 
am sorry to find that this distressing flag is not yet 
off our hands. I sincerely wish that the perplexities 
she has introduced, she may not be more effectually 
working for our enemies than if she had pursued their 

1 7 8 1 ] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 489 

original purpose. This can only be avoided by can- 
did explanation & dispassionate Judgment. The 
line of conduct which the Executive meant to pursue 
as to this Flag cannot be more pointedly declared 
than in the letter of the February which I had 

the honour of writing to you, a copy of which I take 
the liberty of enclosing. They considered her from 
the beginning within the military line : they never 
proposed to make, or ever did make a single order on 
the subject or come to a resolution except that which 
is declared in my letter of February a copy of 
which is also enclosed, whereby they laid down a 
general rule that compensations for plunder shall not 
be received from the enemy. 

In the conversation which I had with Capt Walker 
wherein he mentioned your sentiments & purposes as 
to the person of Mr. Hare and his vessel, I declared 
to him my sense of the extreme impropriety of Mr. 
Hare's Conduct : that had I been the Officer to whom 
he had come, I would have refused to do business with 
him and have sent him back his Purpose uneffected, 
but that I would not for such a cause have broucrht 
the sacred rights of the flag into question, & that I 
concurred with you in opinion that they should be 

The officers immediately connected with her did 
make some reports to the Executive, but they were 
in every instance and immediately transmitted and 
transferred to you for orders, one instance only ex- 
cepted, which was the following. Some few days 
ago, I received a letter from Colo. Innes desiring my 
opinion as to what should be done with Mr Hare & 



the vessel. This conveyed to me the first notice that 
your order had not been obeyed and that the vessel 
was drawn into a Court of Justice. I wrote in answer 
to Colo Innes, as well as I can recollect for I write 
this from memory that whatever powers the Execu- 
tive might have possessed over these subjects, they 
had delegated them to you, that I doubted whether 
the Delegation had added anything to your powers 
as I conceived them before competent to the subject, 
that as to Mr. Hare particularly whether considered 
as a Conductor of a Flag a Prisoner of war or a Spy 
he was subject to your order. That indeed as to the 
vessel since she was drawn into the posession of a 
court being much unacquainted with the subject I 
would take the Attory General's opinion on it & 
transmit it to him. I did so. I did not send the 
papers to you because I knew or believed you to be 
on the road to Williamsburg, where I took for granted 
the whole matter would be laid before you. 

As to Mr. Hare's person the Executive can with 
Truth disclaim having ever given an order on that 
subject, and if you had supposed, as we are afraid 
from your letter you do that any Thing has been 
done in consequence of an order, advice or Recommen- 
dation from us, we affirm that it was not : As little 
as the Detention of the vessel proceeded from the 
Executive. She is indeed in the hands of the State, 
but it is of the Judiciary part of Government, which 
is as independent of them as is the Supreme Court of 
any other Country. 

We are sorry the officers who transacted business 
with Mr. Hare should have failed in obedience to 


your orders, and would do any Thing in our power 
to support and manifest your authority were any 
Thing wanting but nothing can be added to the pro- 
vision which the MiHtary Institutions have made to 
enforce obedience, and it would be presumption in 
us to say what is that Provision to you. These put 
into your own hands the satisfaction which you desire 
Government to procure you. Even your letter to 
Mr. Hare, which we must suppose Major Turberville 
to have so improperly to have retained, it is most in 
our power to require authoritively : to such an order 
no obedience would be exacted by the Laws, never- 
theless he shall be written to on the subject as we 
cannot conceive but that, sensible of the Impropriety 
of such a detention, he will not need compulsion to 
return it : I must again express my uneasiness at the 
unfortunate consequences which may flow from the 
conduct of the Gentlemen who have managed this 
business ; however zealous may have been their In- 
tention, I fear I foresee evils more lasting & weighty 
than the good which may result from them. 

I trust I shall not fail of having your concurrence 
in endeavouring to avoid them as far as shall depend 
on us. 


In Council. March loth, 1781. 

Sir, — Since writing my letter of this Day's Date, 
yours of yesterday has come to hand. The orders to 
the Counties which were to reinforce General Muhl- 
enburg, were that their Detachments should be with 



him on the fifth or at furthest the 6th. On receipt 
of the letter of the 8th informing us of the almost 
total deficiency of New Kent, we ordered 164 men 
from Chesterfield and 187 from Dinwiddle to be im- 
mediately assembled and marched to General Muhl- 
enburg's Head quarters. We can only be answerable 
for the orders we give and not for the execution. If 
they are disobeyed from obstinacy of spirit or want of 
coertion in the Laws it is not our fault; we have done 
what alone remained for us to do in such case, we 
have ordered other militia from other Counties. 

The Quarter Master applied to us on the subject 
of the Horses required. He was furnished with im- 
pressing powers. He again applied for militia to aid 
him in the execution of the Powers. We did not think 
proper to resign ourselves and our Country implicitly 
to the demands of a Quartermaster, but thought we 
had some right of judgment left to us. We knew 
that an armed force to impress horses was as un- 
neccessary as it was new. The fact has been that our 
citizens have been so far from requiring an armed 
Force for this purpose that they have parted with 
their horses too easily delivering them to every 
man who said he was riding on public business and 
assumed a right of impressing. When therefore the 
militia have on their hands a sufficiency of real calls 
to duty, we did not think it proper to harrass them 
in cases where we had reason to suspect they were 
not wished by the Quartermaster as militia, but as 
servants. It was mentioned to the Quartermaster 
that in our opinion he could and should do but little 


in this neighbourhood & that of Petersburg which had 
been drained by constant impresses : Nevertheless 
we furnished him with the blank Powers to be exer- 
cised where he pleased. I have laid your letter before 
the Assembly according to your desire. 


Richmond. March loth, 1781. 

Sir, — Intending that this shall await your arrival 
in this State I with great joy welcome you on that 
event. I am induced to from the very great esteem 
your personal character and the Hopes I entertain of 
your relieving us from our enemy within this State. 
Could any circumstances have rendered your presence 
more desirable or more necessary it is the unfortunate 
one which obliges me to enclose you the enclosed 

I trust that your future Acquaintance with the 
Executive of the State will evince to you that among 
their faults is not to be counted a want of disposition 
to second the views of the Commander against our 
common Enemy. We are too much interested in the 
present scene & have too much at stake to leave a 
doubt on that Head. Mild Laws, a People not used 
to prompt obedience, a want of provisions of War & 
means of procuring them render our orders often 
ineffectual, oblige us to temporise & when we cannot 
accomplish an object in one way to attempt it in 
another. Your knowledge of these circumstances 
with a temper to accommodate them ensure me your 

494 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

cooperation in the best way we can, when we shall be 
able to pursue the way we w^ould wish. 

I still hope you will find our preparations not far 
short of the Information I took the Liberty of giving 
you in my letter of the 8th instant. I shall be very 
happy to receive your first Applications for what- 
ever may be necessary for the public service and to 
convince you of our disposition to promote it as far 
as the Abilities of the State and Powers of the Execu- 
tive will enable us. 



In Council, March 10, 1781. 
Sir, — At the request of Major General Baron Steuben, expressed 
in the enclosed letter, I take the liberty of laying it before you. 
The number of militia necessary to be called into the field, and 
time of their being there, we begged the baron to advise. He did 
so. Apprehending the deficiencies, we ordered a considerably 
larger number. As soon as we received the letters informing us 
of the deficiencies from New Kent, and desertions from Cabin 
Point, finding that, with those of Loudoun, the number would be 
reduced below what he desired, we ordered three hundred and 
fifty one from the counties of Chesterfield and Dinwiddie. The 
time fixed by the baron, for the first reinforcement, was the sixth 
instant ; our orders were that they should be there on the 5th or 
6th, at farthest ; they were not there, it seems on the 7th. A num- 
ber of horses were required for special purposes ; we furnished 
the quartermaster with impressing powers. He applied for mi- 
litia to aid him in the execution of the powers. We knew that an 
armed force to impress horses was unnecessary as it was new. The 
fact has been, that our citizens, so far from requiring an armed 
force for this purpose, have parted from their horses too easily, by 

' From Lee's Life of R. H. Lee, 11, 19 r. 


delivering them to every man who said he was riding on public 
business, and assumed a right of impressing. When, therefore^ 
the militia have on their hands a sufficiency of real calls to duty, 
we did not think proper to harass them in cases where, we had 
reason to believe, they were not wished by the quartermaster as 
militia, but as servants. It was mentioned to the quarter-master, 
that, in our opinion, he could and should do but little in this 
neighborhood, and that of Petersburg, which had been drained by 
constant impresses ; nevertheless, we furnished him with blank 
powers, to be exercised where he pleased. 


Richmond. March 12th, 1781. 

Sir, — The enclosed is the Copy of a Letter which 
was intended to have awaited you in Virginia. But 
as there seems to be a probabiHty that you will be 
detained at the Head of Elk longer than could have 
expected I have thought it best to send a Copy there 

An idea having unfortunately got abroad that the 
militia now called on are intended to storm the 
Enemy's works at Portsmouth the numbers which 
actually march from the several Counties are so far 
short of what we ordered as never happened before 
& as to have bafifled our calculations on probable De- 
ficiencies. As these have become further known & 
expected we have ordered in additional numbers. 
Prom this cause I am informed the Blockade of Ar- 
nold on the Norfolk side has not taken place as I had 
reason to believe when I wrote to you on another 

496 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

By the last accounts I can get the Enemy have 
three vessels of Force in the Bay in addition to those 
Arnold had before. What few armed vessels we could 
get are in James River & cannot be got out nor, 
could we get them out, are they of Force sufficient to 
venture up the Bay. Should a French naval Force 
superior to that of the Enemy arrive in the Bay, I 
make no doubt you will still think it necessary to be 
assured that there are not in the upper part of the 
Bay vessels of the Enemy sufficient to do you Injury. 
I fear the number of boats requisite for landing your 
men and cannon will be very defective. Baron 
Steuben thinks 20 necessary but there cannot be half 
that number procured. The boats built for use in 
the upper part of James river cannot navigate the 
lower parts nor can any be brought round from the 
other rivers, perhaps it will be in your power to bring 
a number of boats with you. We have every instru- 
ment in motion which can avail us on this most inter- 
esting Occasion, but the want of means circumscribes 
our exertions. I think it proper therefore to reduce 
your expectations from what should be ready to what 
probably will be ready, and even calculating on 
probabilities I find it necessary to reduce my own ex- 
pectations at Times. I know that you will be satisfied 
to make the most of an unprepared people, who have 
the war now for the first Time seriously fixed in their 
Country and have therefore all those habits to acquire 
which their Northern Brethren had in the year 1776. 
and which they have purchased at so great an ex- 



March 12 

Sir, — Since writing the preceeding I have been hon- 
oured with your letter of the 6th. The first notifica- 
tion of this Enterprise came to me in the night of 
the last day of February. We were informed there 
were few or no armed vessels in the three northern 
Rivers and supposed if there were any they could not 
be impressed manned & brought into place by the 
time at which it was then thought they would be 
wanting. We confined ourselves therefore to James 
river. It is certainly too late to attempt the other 
rivers. We had but one Galley in order. She went 
down the river some time ago and having never been 
heard of since we fear some accident has happened 
to her. We had before sent down 6000 lbs of can- 
non powder and now order 4000 lbs more which goes 
very deep into our present stock. Ten Pilots are 
provided. I will lodge some maps for you so as that 
they shall be delivered to you on your arrival. I now 
give orders for look-out boats to be ready in Rap- 
pahannock, Piankatank & York rivers. I cannot say 
what may be expected from them. The articles 
wanted in the Quartermasters & Engineers depart- 
ments as stated in their Invoice, will most of them be 
got, as the orders for them go out to Day, only they 
will of course be rather late. I send off to the neighbour- 
hood of the intended operations to procure the plank. 
I expect it will not be very easily or speedily provided. 
As to the artificers required I can give you but little 
Hope. They are exceedingly scarce in this Country. 

498 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

Endeavours shall not be wanting, but still they must 
not be counted on. Provisions will be in readiness. 
This is a summary of what is done, may be done, is 
doubtful or desperate on the several articles enumer- 
ated in your Letter. I pray you to make no difficulties 
in communicating freely what may be wanted for 
the service being desirous of contributing every Thing 
which our State can do or produce for the successful 
prosecution of the Enterprise and confiding that you 
will put the most candid Constructions when we fail 
as you will too soon find a full Compliance beyond the 
reach of our abilities. 


In Council March 14th 1781. 

Sir, — We just received the pleasing information of 
your safe arrival at York yesterday. My letters of 
the 1 2th which were sent to the Head of Elk 
(Duplicates of which accompany this) will inform you 
that we were endeavouring to accomplish your several 
Requisitions. I now enclose you a list of articles 
actually procured which will go from this place this 
evening, most of them in waggons to General Muhlen- 
burg's Head Quarters. Some heavy Articles particu- 
larly about 1500 Gallons of rum, some flour and 20 
seasoned oak planks go in a vessel down the river. 
Four smiths go with the waggons. The articles not 
stated in the enclosed paper will I am in Hopes be pro- 
cured by an Agent I have sent to the neighbourhood of 
Suffolk who will engage what Artificers can be found 



I am informed that there will be ready at the public 
Ship yard on Chickahominy on Friday next 4 Boats 
well fitted for your purpose. Others are collecting in 
the rivers to rendezvous at Hoods. The Galley I Men- 
tioned in my letter of the 1 2 th is at the same ship yard 
and another is got ready. They are very light and 
want men as do two armed vessels belonging to the 
State at the same place. I have desired Capt Max- 
w^ell (at present I believe at York) who in consequence 
of former orders has I expect provided men to come to 
the ship yard and see these vessels put into motion. I 
have the pleasure to inclose you herewith a small map 
of the vicinities of Williamsburg York Hampton & 
Portsmouth done on a scale of 5 miles to the inch 
which may serve for pocket purposes & a larger one 
of the vicinities of Portsmouth on a scale of a mile 
to the inch which may be resorted to where greater 
accuracy is requisite. They are both from actual sur- 
veys and are the best in our power to provide for 
you. The larger one is a copy of original draughts, 
the smaller is very carefully reduced from them. 
Provisions cannot fail if the Commissaries look for- 
ward. I must beg the favour of you to give strict 
orders to the issuing Commissary to give me very 
timely notice when any thing like want shall be 
approaching, because Time is requisite in this 
State to comply with any call. The State pur- 
chasing Commissary was ordered by me besides 
the bread and animal Food to lay in at General 
Muhlenburg's camp or at a proper place in its neigh- 
bourhood a hundred thousand rations. 

500 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 


In Council. March 15th, 1781. 

Gentlemen, — A Difference of opinion having 
taken place between the Executive of this State & 
Mr. Simon Nathan at the rate at which certain Bills 
of Exchange should be discharged in paper money 
we have agreed with him to refer it to such Gentle- 
men of knowledge in the Laws of established charac- 
ter & of any other State as yourselves shall mutually 
agree on with him. Their award shall be performed 
by the State which means to stand in the place as 
well of the Drawer as Drawee. Mr. Wilson & 
Mr. Sergeant had been consulted by Mr. Nathan. 
I enclose to you Mr. Pendleton and Wythe's 
opinion. You will be pleased to observe that the 
state of the case requires from Mr. Nathan actual 
proof that he took up the bills at par. Mr. Nathan 
having agreed with us to all the facts as stated 
I am to suppose nothing contrary to them will be 
received, as his signature here was omitted perhaps 
it would be best for you to require it before submis- 
sion. It is not our Desire to pay of those bills ac- 
cording to the present Depreciation but according to 
their actual value in hard money at the time they 
were drawn with Interest. The State having received 
value so far as it is just it should be substantially 
paid. All beyond this would be plunder made by 
some person or other. The Executive in the most 
candid manner departed from the advantage which 
their Tender law gave them in the beginning. It 
seems very hard to make this means of obtaining an 
unjust Gain from the State. 




In Council. March i6th, 1781. 
Sir, — The Marquis Fayette desired me among the articles most 
essential for an Enterprise at the head of which he is, to procure 
150 Draught Horses for Artillery & 50 saddles Horses for Officers 
to act on. I gave power and instruction to have them procured 
by Purchase if possible & if not by Impress. — One of the 
Quarter masters employed in this Business informs me that he 
has purchased some and impressed others on valuations by men 
on oath and deemed honest which are rated as high as J^2>'^,ooo 
and most of them very much above what is reasonable. These 
circumstances are very embarrassing. To retain the Horses at 
such enormous prices threatens ruin on one Hand, the other to 
discharge them endangers an Enterprise which if successful would 
relieve us from an Enemy whose residence is attended with con- 
tinued Expence, Fatigue and Danger. Under this perplexity I 
am happy to have it in my power to ask the advice of General 
Assembly. The Quarter master was under orders from his Com- 
manding Officer to set out this morning with what Horses he had 
but I have detained him until the sense of the General Assembly 
may be had on the subject. 


Richmond March igth, 1781. 

Sir, — Your letters of the i6th & 17th Inst, came to 
hand at Noon of this day. I beg leave to inform you 
that for the purpose of speedy Communications be- 
tween the Executive & the Commanding Officers 
Expresses are established from this place through 
Williamsburg to Hampton every fifteen miles distance 
and that a Quarter master is employed in establishing 
a similar line from hence to the Army before Ports- 

502 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

mouth crossing James River at Hoods. These Ex- 
presses are ordered to ride day and night. You will 
be pleased to set the line in motion whenever you 
think proper. Besides the Exertions of the Con- 
tinental Quarter master to procure Horses we in- 
structed the State Quarter Master to send out Agents 
on the same business in order to insure the number 
required by Colo Pickering which was 50 saddle 
Horses & 150 Draught Horses. What his agents 
could procure we ordered to be at General Muhlen- 
bure's Head Quarters by the 20th. I shall order him 
to continue his efforts in aid of the Continental 
Quarter Master ten days longer. — In a Country whose 
means of paiment are neither prompt nor of the most 
desirable kind, impressing property for the public use 
has been found indispensible. We have no fears of 
complaint under your exercise of those powers & 
have only to ask the favor of you to instruct those 
employed in impressing to furnish the party whose 
property is taken with a proper certificate of the 
Article & value and that they make regular returns 
to Government of the Certificates they have given 
stating in such return the Date of the Certificate, 
owners name, article taken, & price. This has been 
required of course from all impressing Officers as a 
Check on Counterfeited certificates. 

The conduct of Capt. Turberville has come to the 
knowledge of the Executive in detached Parts only. 
His permitting Lt Hare to pass his post to Westover 
was deemed by us improper. We understood also he 
did not obey a positive order from Major General 
Baron Steuben for discharging Mr Hare & the flag; 


and the Baron complains to us that an open letter of 
his to Mr Hare was detained by Capt Turberville. 
We could do no less than observe to the Baron that 
the military institutions had put in his hands the 
Powers of vindicating the military authority. An 
enquiry or Trial before a military court is certainly 
proper : but Capt Turberville cannot & I dare say 
will not expect or desire it but when full evidence can 
be obtained. If it be necessary that it should await 
the papers which were transmitted me, they are now 
in the hands of the Attorney General to support a 
civil prosecution, and cannot probably be for many 
Days withdrawn. Capt Turberville is an essential 
witness in the prosecution which is to be heard on the 
23d inst and will then have the means of knowing 
when the papers can be spared. 

As a complete collection of our military & other 
Laws is very difficult to be procured and would be 
troublesome for you to consult, I have ordered the 
militia Laws to be copied together & will transmit 
them to you in a few Days. 

Capt Turberville's connection with Mr Hare's flag 
gives me occasion to mention that matter to you. 
On my hearing (several days after it happened) that 
such an Officer and vessel had come up James River, 
I took the Liberty of mentioning it in a letter to 
Major General Baron Steuben, of asking the favor of 
his attention to it, & informing that it was more im- 
mediately within the military line, was under rules and 
usages with which he was much better acquainted 
than we were, we wished to leave it to him altogether 
to have done whatever was right. It was his opinion 

504 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

& it was & Is ours that notwithstanding the Indecen- 
cies & Irregularities of Mr Hare's conduct he & his 
vessel should have been discharged. He accordingly 
ordered it, but his order was not obeyed as to Mr. 
Hare's person till so much time had elapsed as to 
render the discharge dangerous, it was therefore 
countermanded. As to the vessel, an Idea arose I 
know not on what grounds that she was drawn into 
litigation before a Court of Justice. This I am now 
informed is not the case. As we have never meddled 
with her we wish not to do it ; but to leave with 
yourself to discharge both officer & flag whenever 
you shall think it proper to do so. In the meantime 
I doubt not you will think proper attention should be 
paid to the safe Custody of the vessel the persons & 
property belonging to her, & that she be kept under 
the military Power & clear of the civil. 

I send you subjoined a State of the militia called 
to the South Side of James River.^ If I understood 
Baron Steuben's plan he wished to have 800 Vir- 

' The following summary is attached : 

Loudoun 436 Southampton 219 

Fauquieur 269 Isle of Wight 150 

Prince William 185 Nansemond 161. . . .2190 Originally 

called for 

Fairfax 200 Chesterfield 164 

New Kent 104 Dinwiddie 187 

Charles City 71 Hanover 245 

Prince George 125 Caroline 260 

Surry 95 Spotsylvania 120 

Sussex .175 King William 55... .1031 Supple- 



1 >: 
Ship Tempest — 16 Guns -g 

Brigg Jefferson 14.4 lbs o 

Hoods ^^^^^ \ Small gallies I | 
Brigg Willing lass, 10. .4. . ..lbs ) Safeguard ) | ;s 

Ship Renown. . . 

. ..16.. .4 & 6 lbs 

Brigg Wilkes. . . 

. . .12. ..4. ...lbs 

Brigg Mars 

... 8.. 4... .lbs 


ginia militia to operate on the Norfolk side with the 
Carolinians and 2260 on the Portsmouth side to 
operate with the Regulars making in the whole 3060 
militia. In our first call expecting deficiencies we 
much exceeded these numbers taking into account 
the militia then in the field under General Muhlen- 
burg, but finding these deficiencies greater than could 
have been expected we afterwards considerably 
augmented our calls. I also state the armed vessels 
now at Hoods under the direction of Capts Mitchell 
& Lewis, subject to your order. They are private 
property. Those of the Public in Chickahominy want 
men to supply which Orders have been sent to 
Captain Maxwell. 


J. MSS, 

Richmond March 21st, 17S1. 

Sir, — The inclosed letter will inform you of the 
arrival of a British fleet in the Chesapeake Bay. 

The extreme negligence of our Stationed Expresses 
is no doubt the cause why as yet no authentic account 
has reached us of a General Action which happened 
on the 15th instant, about a mile and a half from 
Guilford Court House between Genl. Greene & Ld 
Cornwallis. Capt. Singleton an intelligent Officer 
of Harrison's Artillery who was in the action, is this 
moment arrived here and gives the general informa- 
tion that both parties were prepared and desirous for 
action. The Enemy were supposed about 2500 
strong, our army about 4000. That after a warm 
and general engagement of about an hour and a half. 



we retreated about a mile and a half from the field in 
good order, having as he supposed between two and 
three hundred killed and wounded : The enemy be- 
tween five and seven hundred killed and wounded ; 
That we lost four pieces of Artillery : That the Militia 
as well as regulars behaved exceedingly well : That 
Genl. Greene, he believes, would have renewed the 
action the next day had it not proved rainy, & would 
renew it as soon as possible, as he supposes. That 
the whole of his Troops, both regulars and Militia 
were in high spirits and wishing a second engage- 
ment : That the loss has fallen pretty equally on the 
Militia and Regulars : That Genl. Stevens received a 
ball through the thigh : Major Anderson of Maryland 
was killed & captain Barrett of Washington's Cavalry. 
Capt. Fauntleroy of the same Cavalry shot through 
the thigh & left on the field. Capt Singleton having 
left Camp the day after the Battle does not speak 
from particular returns, none such having been then 
made. I must inform your Excellency from him, till 
more regular applications can reach you, that they 
are in exti-eme want of lead, cartridge paper & bread. 
I think it improper, however it might urge an instan- 
taneous supply, to repeat to you his state of the extent 
of their Stock of these articles. In a former letter I 
mentioned to you the failure of the vein of our Lead 
Mines which has left the Army here in a state of 
equal distress & danger. 

Look out Boats have been ordered from the Sea 
board of the E shore to apprise the Commander of 
the French fleet on its approach of the British being 
in the Chesapeake 

1781] THOMAS JEFFEI^ON. 507 


Richmond March 21st, 1781. 

Sir, — As I am certainly informed by Commodore 
Baron that the Fleet arrived is British, I become anx- 
ious lest the expected French fleet not knowing of 
this Incident may come into the Bay, Should ye 
Marquis Fayette be returned to the North side of the 
river, I make no doubt that he will have taken what 
cautionary measures are in his power and necessary. 
Should he not be returned I must beg the favor of you 
immediately to send off a vessel from York to the 
Eastern shore (which is supposed to be practicable) 
with the enclosed letter to Colo. Avery the purport 
of which is to send out two good lookout boats from 
the sea side of that shore to apprize the French 
Commander should he be approaching of the situa- 
tion of Things here. You will of course caution the 
master of the vessel to destroy the Letters confided 
to him in case of inevitable capture. 


In Council. March 24th, 1781. 

Sir, — I am honored by your letter of the 20th inst. 
and am sorry that a want of ammunition should have 
abridged your intentions at Portsmouth. I have 
made enquiry what have been the issues of ammuni- 
tion from the State Stores and am informed by re- 
turns that there has issued (naming principal articles 

5o8 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

To Thomas Smith acting for Major Prior 1000 lbs 

Cannon powder for York. 
To Captn Bohannon 6000 lbs Cannon powder 
To Major Pryor for Genl Muhlenburg's camp 400 

lbs musket powder 2100 lbs lead. 
To Capt Irish for the Continental Laboratory 3500 

lbs musket powder and 3900 lbs lead. — 
Amounting to 10,900 lbs powder & 600 lbs lead. 

These things being put into the hands of conti- 
nental officers, whether made up, forwarded, or not 
are circumstances not afterwards coming to my 
knowledge. I asked the favor of Captn. Irish to 
inform me of his issues from the Continental Labora- 
tory to which we sent 19 hands to aid him in pre- 
paring the ammunition. He made the enclosed 
return. I apprehend a considerable part of what he 
has issued is still on the road. He has 18,000 cart- 
ridges on hand and makes 3000 a Day. I am very 
sorry to inform you our stock of lead will not employ 
him much longer even at this slow rate. 

The vein of the mine on which we have hitherto 
depended failed some weeks ago, of this I immedi- 
ately apprized Congress. U nless some speedy supplies 
are sent on, the Southern army as well as ours will 
immediately fail. I have lately again written to 
Congress on this subject and by Captain Rutlege 
ventured to send a particular state of the Southern 
Army in this point as reported to me by Captn. 
Singleton, the addition of your application would 
doubtless have great weight. It has not been gen- 


erally expected that individual States should provide 
more ammunition on their own accounts than to 
repel occasional Attacks or to oppose a permanent 
enemy until supplies & support could be forwarded 
from the Continental stock. Our State stores how- 
ever have been constantly applying to the use of the 
Southern Army from the taking of Charleston to this 
time and our own Army from the first of October 
last. I mention these Things not with an Idea of 
withholding as long as we have a grain, but to enable 
to shew that aids of military stores from the Con- 
tinental stock are as reasonable as they are necessary. 
As to provisions I have been incessant with the 
Commissary to see that the quantity before ordered be 
in readiness. He has constantly assured me that he 
has much more than has been required. Were the 
articles such as are lodged in Store-houses I would 
send an Officer to examine his stores actually, but 
they consist mostly of stalled beeves divided among 
the counties which it would be improper to bring 
together till wanted. He has a vessel under the care 
of the armed vessels in this river loaded with Flour, 
which he says contains half the quantity required 
and the whole may be water borne the moment it is 
wanted. He has no hard bread, but he is instructed 
to provide it. I shall not cease to recall his attention 
to it. 

I am anxious to hear from you since the appear- 
ance of this British fleet. It is said by a Captn. 
Reeves who came out of Portsmouth since their 
arrival that there was a partial engagement between 


that & the French Fleet off our Capes in which 
neither party sustained the loss of any vessel or other 
considerable damage. Immediately on learning their 
arrival I communicated by the stationed Expresses to 
Governor Lee, the President of Congress & General 
Washington. I suppose this will put an end to the 
design of Portsmouth, or place it at a distance ; in 
either case the militia who have had a tour of Duty 
so unusually long are entitled to be discharged by a 
special promise so soon as those newly called on shall 
rendezvous in sufficient numbers to replace them. 
Great cautions are requisite on the discharge of 
militia to prevent their carrying away their arms and 
ammunition. Another reason induces me to wish an 
information of your present views, which is that if 
there be a probability that the private armed vessels 
we have impressed may not be wanting. I should 
be glad to discharge them as they are heavy daily 
Expence and risk. 

I do myself the pleasure of transmitting to you the 
Militia Laws according to Your desire. 

I will beg the favor to send the enclosed letter to 
the Britsh Commanding Officer at Portsmouth by 
Flag whenever you shall think proper. Indeed I 
wash it miofht suffice to deliver it to the naval Com- 
mander as nothing can be so disagreeable to me as 
to be compelled to a correspondence wnth the other.^ 

On the resignation of Colo. Muter as Commis- 
sioner of the war office we have appointed Colo. 
Davies to succeed him. The due execution of the 

' Benedict Arnold. 

1 7 8 1 ] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 5 1 1 

duties of this office are of extreme importance to the 
State and indeed to the Continent, while an army 
continues either here or in the South. Some diffi- 
culties on the subject of rank and other emoluments 
prevent his absolute acceptance. He has however 
accepted conditionally and we are applying to Con- 
gress to settle the points on which he hesitates. In 
the meantime as the duties of the office do not admit 
a Days intermission in the present Situation of 
Things, give me leave to solicit his excuse for quit- 
ting the charge at Chesterfield Courthouse without 
awaiting a regular Licence & your permission to him 
to continue here till we receive the Determination of 
Congress. ^_ 


(major-general benedict ARNOLD.) 

In Council, March 24th, 1781. 

Sir, — Some of the citizens of this State taken 
prisoners when not in arms and enlarged on parole 
have reported the Commanding Officer as affirming 
to them that they should be punished with Death if 
found in Arms. This has given occasion to the en- 
closed Resolution of the General Assembly of this 
State. It suffices to observe at present that by the 
Law of nations, a breach of parole (even where the 
validity of parole is not questioned) can only be pun- 
ished by strict confinement. 

No usage has permitted the putting to Death a 
prisoner for this cause. I would willingly suppose 

512 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

that no British Officer had ever expressed a contrary 
purpose. It has however become my duty to declare 
that should such a Threat be carried into Execution, 
it will be deemed as putting prisoners to death in 
cold blood, and shall be followed by the Execution 
of so many British prisoners in our possession. I 
trust however that this horrid necessity will not be 
introduced by you and that you will on the contrary 
concur with us in indeavouring as far as possible to 
alleviate the inevitable miseries of war by treating 
captives as Humanity and natural honour "requires. 
The event of this contest will hardly be affected by 
the fate of a few miserable captives in war. 


V. S. A. 

In Council. March 26th, 1781. 

Sir, — I enclose you by express three Acts of the last session of 
Assembly for ascertaining the number of militia in the State 
exempting Artificers employed at Iron works from militia duty 
and remedying the inconveniences arising from the Interruption 
of the Draught and the procuring Clothes Provisions & waggons 
for the Army. On the approach of Lord Cornwallis to this State 
& a representation of the want of Horses to mount our Dragoons 
two warrants were enclosed to General Greene for impressing 
Dragoon horses. The persons to whom these warrants have 
been entrusted having taken as was said Horses of much greater 
value than have been allowed for that service, the General- 
Assembly directed that no further Impresses under them should 
be made of horses of more than the value of ^50 Specie and 
that those of a higher price already Impressed shld be returned 
to their owners. We have taken such measures as were in our 

1 7 8 1 ] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 5 1 3 

power to carry the Resolution into effect, but as the Impresses 
pasing continually from Place to Place may not be notified of the 
Resolutions of Government, I must beg the favor of you to take 
measures for making them known to any such who may be in 
your County and for effecting their execution. It is probable 
that most of the valuations have been made in paper money. 
From another Resolution from Assembly we are led to fix on 
,-/^5ooo paper, as the value above which no such Horse shall be 
impressed or retained. We expect to send a vessel shortly with a 
flag from this Place to Charles Town with tobacco to be disposed 
of for our Captive Officers and soldiers there. Be so good as to 
give notice to the friends of any of them within your County that 
any articles that they may think proper to send for their Relief 
by that conveyance shall have a free passage if ready to be deliv- 
ered here by the last of April, & not too much for the share room 
of the vessel. 

The number of deserters from the British army who have taken 
refuge in this State is now considerably & daily augmenting. 
These people notwithstanding their coming over to us, being 
deemed in Law alien Enemies and as such not admissible to be 
citizens are not within the scope of the Militia and Invasion 
Laws, under which citizens alone can be embodied. I thought it 
necessary to observe this to you lest any Error in this point 
should creep into practice by incorporating those persons in the 
Militia of the State. 


V. S. A. 

Richmond. March 31st, 1781. 

Sir, — The principle on which the Boundary be- 
tween Pensylvania and this State is to be run having 
been fixed it is now proposed by President Reid that 
Commissioners proceed to execute the work from the 
termination of Mason and Dixons Line to the com- 

514 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

pletion of five Degrees of Longitude and thence on a 
meridian to the Ohio. We propose that the extent 
of the five DeLrrees of loncjitude shall be determined 
by celestial observation. Of course it will require one 
set of Astronomers to be at Philadelphia and another 
at Port Pitt. We ask the favor of yourselves to under- 
take this business the one to go to the one place, the 
other to the other, meaning to add a coadjutor to 
each of you. Good instruments can be furnished no 
doubt at Philadelphia ; but for the Pittsburg obser- 
vations we must sollicit the proper instruments from 
your corporations which we will undertake to return 
in good order ; or if injured to replace them. I 
therefore beg the favor of you to sollicit the Loan of 
those Instruments. With respect to yourselves we 
shall furnish money for your necessary & comfortable 
Expenses, the covered waggon which conveys the In- 
struments will take any luggage necessary for your 
accommodation. And we will give you moreover 
150 lbs of Tobacco a Day each dischargeable in cur- 
rent money at the rate afifixed by the grand Jury at 
the General Court next preceding paiment. It will 
be necessary to proceed in this business as soon as 
the General mode shall have been agreed between 
the two States. Perhaps a meeting of the Commis- 
sioners at Baltimore will be previously requisite to 
settle particulars. I am to request an immediate 
answer to this as I delay proposing to President Reid 
this mode of locating the boundary until I know 
whether we can get the Execution of it undertaken 
by Gentlemen who will do us credit and justice. 




Richmond March 31st, 1781. 

Sir, — The letters and papers accompanying this 
will inform your Excellency of the arrival of a British 
flag Vessel with clothing, refreshments, money &c — 
for their prisoners under the convention of Saratoga. 
The Gentlemen conducting them, have, on supposi- 
tion that the Prisoners, or a part of them still 
remained in this State, applied to me by letters, 
copies of which I transmit your Excellency, for leave 
to allow water transportation as far as possible, and 
then for themselves to attend them to the Post where 
they are to be issued. These indulgences were 
usually granted them here, but the Prisoners being 
removed, it becomes necessary to transmit the appli- 
cation to Congress for their direction. In the mean- 
time the flag will wait in James river. 

Our intelligence from Genl Greene's camp as late 
as the 24th, is, that Ld Cornwallis's march of the 
day before had decided his route to cross creek. 

The amount of the reinforcements to the enemy 
arrived at Portsmouth is not yet known with certain- 
ty.^ Accounts differ from 1500 to much larger num- 
bers. We are informed they have a considerable 
number of Horse. The affliction of the People for 
want of arms is great, that of ammunition is not yet 
known to them. An apprehension is added that the 
enterprise on Portsmouth being laid aside, the troops 
under the Marquis Fayette will not come on. An 

' Under the command of Phillips. 

5i6 THE WRITINGS OF [1781 

Enemy 3000 strong, not a regular in the State, nor 
arms to put into the hands of the Militia are indeed 
discouras^ino;- circumstances. 


V. S. A. 

Richmond, March 31st, 1781. 

Sir, — I have duly received your favor dated New 
York, March 8th. The removal of the German 
Troops of Convention also from this State was a cir- 
cumstance probably not known to you at that Date. 
I am as yet uninformed of the Post at which they 
have been stationed, but believe it to be York Town 
and Lancaster in Pensylvania, the nearest navigation 
to which is the Head of Chesapeake Bay. The per- 
missions desired for facilitating the Delivery of the 
stores on board the Flag are consequently not within 
our Gift ; but I have forwarded the applications to 
Congress and shall hope shortly to communicate their 
consent to the Gentlemen conducting the Flag. 

General Scott the Commanding Officer of the Vir- 
ginia Line in Captivity at Charles Town, sollicited & 
obtained from the Commandant there a license to us 
to send Tobacco in any quantity for the Relief of our 
Officers there. I take the Liberty of enclosing to 
you a copy of an extract from his letter on that sub- 
ject to the Commandant and the answer he received 
as furnished me by General Scott. I do not expect 

1 7 8 1 ] THOMA S JEFFERSON. 5 1 7 

that such a copy without a passport or other authentic 
Document from any British Officer would be suf- 
ficient protection to the vessels which should go 
charged with this Tobacco. I would therefore beg 
the favor of you to indulge us with a Passport, in 
which I should not object to the Insertion of caution- 
ary provisions rendering the Passport invalid if the 
License should not have been really obtained as the 
copy of the Letter imports. All I ask is that the 
vessel or vessels may be protected to Charles Town 
and to rest for safety there on what has passed be- 
tween the Commandant and General Scott. Being 
informed that the command of the British Land 
Force within this State was in yourself I am encour- 
aged to make the application to you. Should it have 
been made more properly to the Naval Commanding 
Officer give me leave to ask the favor of your handing 
it to him. 



000 589 513